|Home | About | Journals | Submit | Contact Us | Français|
Forty specialists were asked about their management of three theoretical patients with advanced cancer of the head and neck. Reasons for variation were explored by considering the influence of perceived aims of treatment (radical or palliative), together with a number of factors relating to the tumour, the lymph nodes, and the patients' personal circumstances. The perceived aim of treatment was the most important determinant as to treatment modality but, when chances of influencing survival were small, there was disagreement as to the appropriate aim and subjective value judgements became influential. More careful analysis of the initial decision-making process is needed if new clinical trials are to significantly affect clinical practices.