Intended for healthcare professionals

Views & Reviews The Best Medicine

Breaking good news

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e7355 (Published 31 October 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e7355

Re: Breaking good news

Prediction of prognosis is a very difficult task even when a patient is riddled with cancer and is not being actively treated. (1)(2). So it is not surprising that prognostication for non-malignant conditions is even more difficult as highlighted by Liam Farrell.(3). Better to be honest with patients and families about the huge uncertainties inherent in prognostication.

References:

1. Gripp S, Moeller S, Bölke E, Schmitt G, Matuschek C, Asgari S, et al. Survival prediction in terminally ill cancer patients by clinical estimates, laboratory tests, and self-rated anxiety and depression. J. Clin. Oncol. 2007 Aug 1;25(22):3313–20.

2. Parkes CM. Accuracy of predictions of survival in later stages of cancer. Br Med J. 1972 Apr 1;2(5804):29–31.

3. Farrell L. Breaking good news. BMJ. 2012;345:e7355.

Competing interests: No competing interests

11 November 2012
Santhanam Sundar
Consultant Oncologist
Nottingham University Hospitals NHS trust
Nottingham. NG5 1PB