Self-perception of vulnerability in patients in phase I cancer trials: a study from Argentina.
Objective: different studies have suggested that patients with advanced cancer consider that their fragile health situation may not necessarily diminish their ability to assess the risks and benefits of research and to make autonomous decisions. However, little is known about this self-perception of vulnerability and decision-making capacity of Latin American patients. The aim of the study was to explore the self-perception of vulnerability in patients with advanced cancer disease from Argentina, and to analyze whether the scarcity of therapeutic options limits voluntariness and predisposes them to exploitation. Methodology: through a semi-structured interview carried out with 11 patients with advanced oncological disease from Buenos Aires we explored the objectives of participation in research, the capacity for self-determination, the understanding of information, the voluntary nature of decisions and the expected benefits. Results: our findings suggest that the fears in relation to the possible exploitation of seriously ill patients are not shared by the patients themselves, who consider themselves autonomous to make an adequate balance between risks and benefits and decide in the sense of their own interest.