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Cancer Invest. 2005;23(1):94-8.

Ignorance is bliss? Ethical considerations in therapeutic nondisclosure.

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Winthrop University Hospital, Mineola, NY 11501, USA.


It is not uncommon for oncologists and other clinicians to encounter families who wish that grave medical information be withheld from their loved ones. Despite families' typically benevolent motives in making these requests, often, nondisclosure is not in the patients' best interests. Furthermore, nondisclosure may challenge physicians' professional obligations to their patients. However, there are particular situations in which nondisclosure is ethically appropriate, if not ethically obligatory. This article discusses potential benefits and harms associated with therapeutic nondisclosure in adult patients and offers strategies to effect more appropriate disclosure when therapeutic nondisclosure is contemplated.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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