I wrote a post today about a recent article in the New England Journal of Medicine that reports that a majority of patients with metastatic lung or colon cancer reported having a significant hope that chemotherapy would cure their cancer, despite the consensus in the field that this isn't a realistic expectation. Also notable is that the patients who reported a greater potential for cure were also the ones most satisfied with communication they share with their oncologist. It's actually not clear whether their oncologists were withholding important information, were ambiguous in relaying the potential value of chemotherapy, or had clearly explained that chemotherapy wouldn't be curative but the patient didn't accept that. But a potential implication of this survey is that doctors who are more honest and realistic with their patients will be less likely to be liked by their patients.
What do you think? I'd be very interested in your thoughts, here and/or as a comment on the post, about whether you would want the most honest appraisal of the situation, or do you want a very optimistic oncologist who will be a cheerleader? And do you think you represent most patients?
Thanks for your thoughts.