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 September 22, 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 September 22, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, September 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

AP (Sep. 21, 2014) Sierra Leone residents remained in lockdown on Saturday as part of a massive effort to confine millions of people to their homes in a bid to stem the biggest Ebola outbreak in history. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Newsy (Sep. 20, 2014) Sierra Leone is locked down as aid workers and volunteers look for new cases of Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) A study suggest antidepressants can kick in much sooner than previously thought. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
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