Code of Ethics
Our institution is a specialized center devoted to the care of people with cancer and to the prevention and eradication of malignant disease. We strive to combine the activities of patient care, prevention, education, and research to benefit not only patients currently receiving care but also future generations. In this diversity, there is often tension; therefore, we hold before us this Code of basic moral principles to guide our service and to bond patients and staff together in the difficult task of contending with cancer.
Reverence for the people for whom we are privileged to care is our primary concern. Such respect affirms the value and dignity of life.
The diagnosis of cancer is not just an identification of a disease but may also carry with it serious emotional, social, and financial burdens for patients and those close to them, including the burden of making and living with difficult choices. It is our responsibility to offer support and assistance by providing patients and their families with the information they need to make decisions.
Prevention is an essential part of our mission. Through public education, clinical preventive service, and research, we strive to reduce the incidence of cancer and serve people who may never be our patients. People who come to us for preventive services are to be cared for with sensitivity to issues of stigmatization, confidentiality, and the avoidance of harm.
Basic and clinical research are central to our mission. They are fundamental to the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and ultimately to the eradication of cancer. Research requires activities that are anticipated to improve patient care and participants who are adequately informed about risks and benefits. It must reflect the highest standards of research integrity including accurately collected, precisely analyzed, and honestly reported data.
We affirm the need to demonstrate mutual respect and to acknowledge interdependence as co-workers responsible for the welfare of patients.
Curing disease, reducing suffering, and achieving an acceptable quality of life, as defined by the patient with the help of healthcare professionals, are the central goals of our institution. The presence of cancer may justify, but not demand, heroic measures.
Patients' information is confidential and may not be disclosed to third parties without patient consent. All information must be recorded accurately and communicated responsibly. Access confers an obligation to protect patient privacy and personal interests.
Education is both an investment in a better future and a tribute to past generations of patients and scholars. Our educational mission embraces those who come to us to learn -- our patients, the public, and our colleagues. We commit ourselves to further progress against cancer by sharing the knowledge, skills, and ethical values that are the foundation of this institution.
All who serve in this institution have specific tasks and roles, yet all are equal in their capacity to befriend patients. Individually, each of us bears a moral obligation to our patients.
Cancer therapy, prevention, education, and research are costly endeavors demanding conscientious stewardship; however, financial considerations should not dictate the quality of care offered to each patient.
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