The daily activity of a cancer hospital is fraught with ethical controversies and difficult decisions to be made by researchers, clinicians, patients and caregivers. Frequently, these issues become entangled in moral values, religious beliefs, legal constraints, professional duties and medical guidelines, which add further layers of complexity to biomedical decision-making.
As a consequence, those who have to choose could be in a sort of ethical decisional paralysis.
This situation has brought about the need of services for ethics support. Within this new and expanding landscape, we proposed a Master in Ethical counseling in oncology aimed at providing participants with conceptual and practical tools for promoting - and dealing with - clinicians and patients' ethical concerns.
The Master resorts to the tradition of the ethical critical thinking and is based on the idea that an ethical counselor is a mediator between the ethical knowledge and the patient or the clinician's needs, in order to help them to take the right choices for the patient's well-being.
Giovanni Boniolo (Dip. di Scienze della Salute, University of Milan and Biomedical Humanities Unit, Dept. of Experimental Oncology, European Institute of Oncology, Milan, Italy)
Roberto Malacrida (Fondazione Sasso Corbaro, Bellinzona, Switzerland)