Medicine: Should the Doctor Tell?

One of medicine's great arguments rages on the question: Should a physician tell a patient with inoperable cancer the nature of his disease? Doctors reserve the right to make this decision themselves, even when the patient pleads for information. Says one U.S. doctor: "The question 'Do I have cancer?' may in reality be a strong plea for a negative answer."

Many doctors do not tell, arguing that the cancer victim usually realizes his condition anyhow but will not emotionally welcome scientific confirmation. Fortnight ago, in Cancer, an official publication of the American Cancer Society, a Swedish team composed of a psychiatrist, a...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!