Shared medical decision-making: Considering what options to present based on an ethical analysis of the treatment of brain tumors in very young children

Deena Levine, Kenneth J Cohen, David Wendler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The treatment of brain tumors in very young children poses both a therapeutic challenge and a bioethical quandary. The administration of craniospinal radiation after surgery offers the greatest chance for cure but causes severe neurocognitive damage. As a result, current practice does not offer parents the option of full-dose postoperative craniospinal radiation. Some may regard this approach as inappropriate medical paternalism, while others may consider it an example of responsible therapeutics. Evaluation of this dilemma reveals principles which can guide clinicians in determining which treatment options to present to their patients or surrogates, in the context of shared medical decision-making.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)216-220
Number of pages5
JournalPediatric Blood and Cancer
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2012



  • Decision making
  • Ethics
  • Neuro-oncology
  • Pediatric oncology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Hematology

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