Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Evidence Indicates Cancer Patients Unable To Intentionally Postpone Death For Significant Events

Date:
January 4, 2005
Source:
Journal Of The American Medical Association
Summary:
Contrary to previous reports, new research shows that cancer patients can not intentionally postpone death to survive for significant personal events such as Christmas, Thanksgiving or a birthday, according to a study in the December 22/29 issue of JAMA.

CHICAGO -- Contrary to previous reports, new research shows that cancer patients can not intentionally postpone death to survive for significant personal events such as Christmas, Thanksgiving or a birthday, according to a study in the December 22/29 issue of JAMA.

Health care workers and others involved with patients dying of cancer commonly recall those who apparently held on to life and defied the odds by surviving a major holiday or significant event, only to die immediately thereafter, according to background information in the article. Previous studies have noted an apparent dip or peak death pattern associated with significant religious and social events.

Donn C. Young, Ph.D., and Erinn M. Hade, M.S., of The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, used a large database to examine whether cancer deaths would demonstrate a dip or peak phenomenon around three events with potential religious, secular, and personal importance to the individual: Christmas, Thanksgiving, and the individual's birthday. The researchers analyzed death certificate data for all 1,269,474 persons dying in Ohio from 1989-2000, including 309,221 persons dying with cancer noted as the leading cause of death. They measured the total number of cancer deaths in the 2 weeks centered on the event of interest, and the proportion of these deaths that occurred in the week before and the week after the event to determine whether these proportions were significantly different.

"For Christmas, Thanksgiving, or the individual's birthday, during the 12-year period there was no significant difference in the proportion of patients dying in the week after the event compared with the proportion dying in the week before the event," the researchers write. "Although overall birthday data showed no effect, women dying of cancer were more likely to die during the week before their birthday compared with the following week. Men showed no significant differences. In no subgroup was a statistically significant decrease of deaths observed in the week before the event."

"Although we cannot eliminate the possibility that a small number of dying cancer patients have the ability to control the timing of their death, the proportion would have to be much smaller than that previously reported," the authors write. " ...analysis of thousands of cancer deaths shows no pattern to support the concept that 'death takes a holiday.'"

(JAMA. 2004;292:3012-3016. Available post-embargo at jama.com)

Editor's Note: Dr. Young and Ms. Hade were supported by a cancer center support grant from the National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute, to The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Journal Of The American Medical Association. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Journal Of The American Medical Association. "Evidence Indicates Cancer Patients Unable To Intentionally Postpone Death For Significant Events." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 January 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/01/050104113539.htm>.
Journal Of The American Medical Association. (2005, January 4). Evidence Indicates Cancer Patients Unable To Intentionally Postpone Death For Significant Events. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/01/050104113539.htm
Journal Of The American Medical Association. "Evidence Indicates Cancer Patients Unable To Intentionally Postpone Death For Significant Events." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/01/050104113539.htm (accessed August 20, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: World's Oldest Man Lives in Japan

Raw: World's Oldest Man Lives in Japan

AP (Aug. 20, 2014) A 111-year-old Japanese was certified as the world's oldest man by Guinness World Records on Wednesday. Sakari Momoi, a native of Fukushima in northern Japan, was given a certificate at a hospital in Tokyo. (Aug. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Freetown a City on Edge

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Freetown a City on Edge

AFP (Aug. 19, 2014) Residents of Sierra Leone's capital voice their fears as the Ebola virus sweeps through west Africa. Duration: 00:56 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
101-Year-Old Working Man Has All The Advice You Need

101-Year-Old Working Man Has All The Advice You Need

Newsy (Aug. 19, 2014) Herman Goldman has worked at the same lighting store for almost 75 years. Find out his secrets to a happy, productive life. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

AP (Aug. 19, 2014) Four Texas high school football programs are trying out an experimental system designed to diagnose concussions on the field. The technology is in response to growing concern over head trauma in America's most watched sport. (Aug. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins