Due to the impressing medical and technical progress and structural changes in health care, ethical issues in oncology and research constantly gain importance. Such issues include the informed consent process in research, the patient’s rights and the right to self-determination or the ethical justification of expensive treatments when resources are limited in health care. The concept of Empirical Ethics is combines empirical studies in patient care and research with ethical analysis (cf. figure 1).
The empirical research allows for a detailed account of the ethical questions at stake. The ethical analysis weighs the values and ethical principles affected and develops an ethically sound recommendation. This recommendation aims at informing our decisions in the clinical or research context - be it as an aid in decision-making, as an advice or a counselling service