Medicine: Breaking the News

Should a patient be told that he has cancer? Doctors are still arguing the point. In the current Surgery, Dr. William D. Kelly of the University of Minnesota Medical School and Dr. Stanley R. Friesen of the University of Kansas report that most patients prefer to hear the bad news.

Drs. Kelly & Friesen questioned 200 people, 100 of whom had cancer. Of the 100 cancerous patients, 85 said that they knew it already; 15 said that they hadn't known about it. Of the 100, 89 said that they preferred to know, 6 wished...

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