IRS-SCPSC Newsletter New Year Special Issue

The International Research Society of the Sapporo Conference for Palliative & Supportive Care in Cancer (IRS-SCPSC) newsletter is usually published quarterly. Each year, Higashi Sapporo Hospital, which hosts the IRS-SCPSC, provides opportunities for contemplative reflection by presenting philosophical themes to the relevant global community at the beginning of the year. The philosophical themes, proposed by Dr. Ishitani, are periodically explained, serving as a source of inspiration for everyone. For example, in 2021, the theme was “Healing from a distance,” which questioned the significance of digital solutions in healthcare triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic. In 2022, the key phrase “good health and well-being” was proposed from Goal No. 3 (in the area of health related fields) of the SDGs adopted at the 2015 UN Summit (Transforming our world: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development ). From 2023 onwards, the theme is “Human dignity,” which is derived from discussions on the crucial issue of euthanasia within the IRS-SCPSC.

Chapter 1 is explained by the title “Can the concept of human dignity become an episteme (a system of recognition or fundamental ‘knowledge’ that underlies the entire culture of an era as coined by Foucault ) of the near future?” This seems to have originated from the mention of “Human dignity” by prominent Canadian psychiatrists Dr. Chochinov and Dr. Sonu Gaind at the symposium “Euthanasia, physician assisted suicide and their connection to palliative care” held in 2023 at the 3rd/4th Joint SCPSC. New Year’s message

Chapter 2 is titled “Human dignity and the Sanctity of life” and analyses Kant’s concept of “Human dignity” in detail. At the same time, he again presents the difference between this concept of “Human dignity” and the concept of “Sanctity of life.” The concept of “sanctity of life” is sometimes treated as the basis for life-sustaining treatment and appears to lead to some confusion in modern medicine. Message on “Human Dignity” from the President, Dr. Ishitani

Chapter 3, which is posted on the BMJ SP Care Blog this time, is titled “Human dignity and autonomy” and explains the fallacy and cultural differences associated with the concept of “autonomy,” which is the essence of Kant’s “Human dignity.” New Year’s message

At the World Cancer Congress hosted by the UICC in Geneva in 2022, which I attended, there was a session titled “Clash of Culture: Palliative Care and Assisted Dying” that was centred around autonomy. What struck me at the time was that a UK doctor strongly criticized a lecture by an Australian doctor about his experience in providing assisted dying based on autonomy. The arguments presented by the two sides did not seem to mesh at all, and the chairperson also appeared confused. At that time, I remember Dr. Ishitani agreeing with the UK doctor, muttering, “What is the essence of autonomy?” The answer to that question can be regarded as the main theme of the New Year issue of the newsletter. At the beginning, it states, “In Chapters 1 and 2, Kant’s concept of ‘Human dignity’ is explained to be centred on autonomy, which means an unconditional respect for individual freedom and its regulation, and that one’s obligation to oneself immediately becomes an obligation to others. My humble interpretation of this is, “when considering your own happiness, consider the happiness of others at the same time.” The text then goes on to provide an overview of autonomy, self-determination, and the right to self-determination, and concludes that the concept of “Human dignity” goes beyond the concept of Quality of Life, which has been an episteme of the past 50 years, and is a godsend midst the chaos currently affecting world. I hope it becomes a source of contemplation for readers.

Newsletter: IRS-SCPSC / News Letter-New Year

Picture of Immanuel Kant
Immanuel Kant


The 3rd & 4th Sapporo Conference for Palliative and Supportive Care in Cancer 2023

April 29 Symposium3: Euthanasia, physician assisted suicide and their connection to palliative care

Photo of Dr.Harvey Max Chochinov
Dr.Harvey Max Chochinov



Photo of Yukie Ishitani

Yukie Ishitani (Web Designer)
Publicist Relation Section
Higashi Sapporo Hospital

Declaration of interests

I have read and understood the BMJ Group policy on declaration of interests and declare the following interests: none.


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