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October 28, 1998

Communicating With Patients About Advanced Cancer

Author Affiliations

Margaret A.WinkerMD, Senior EditorIndividualAuthorPhil B.FontanarosaMD, Senior EditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 1998;280(16):1403-1404. doi:10-1001/pubs.JAMA-ISSN-0098-7484-280-16-jbk1028

To the Editor.—The key finding of the study by Dr Weeks and colleagues1 suggests that patients with colon cancer and lung cancer overestimate their likelihood of survival, compared with the estimates of the physicians who were more accurate. The authors suggest that this underestimation greatly undermines patients' ability to make informed decisions about their end-of-life care. In their Editorial, Dr Smith and Ms Swisher2 interpret this finding to mean that physicians should tell patients the truth about their condition and prognosis.

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