Should physicians tell patients the truth?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


The medical literature suggests that most patients want to be told the truth about a diagnosis of cancer. Despite this evidence of their patients' wishes, physicians in many countries still hesitate to disclose this and other diagnoses. Physicians frequently ignore their patients' wishes when they consider the appropriateness of truth telling. A complete shift from nondisclosure to mandatory disclosure without considering patients' preferences may lead to serious harm to patients who do not want to be told the truth. Because physicians cannot satisfactorily treat patients without knowing their preferences toward disclosure of a diagnosis, I propose a simple strategy to break this long-standing ethical dilemma-physicians must develop the habit of inquiring about their patients' preferences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)36-39
Number of pages4
JournalWestern Journal of Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1995 Jan 1
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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