An article on how a doctor's politeness can actually cause patients more distress about their illness. A doctor's being vague about an illness--"you may develop this", "it's probably this"--especially a serious one, tends to make people think the worse. (Sound like some people on here???)
The thing to take away from this article is that we the patients need to be exacting of our doctors if they don't do it themselves. We need to ask questions like "'Probably IBS?' Can you tell me the odds that it is just IBS? 80%? 90%?" "'Might make me sick?' What exactly are the side affects and what percentage of people experience each side affect?" These are all questions that doctors should be able to answer, but for whatever reason they don't volunteer. A doctor may truly feel, 100%, that you have IBS, but then he tells you that it's "probably IBS", just to make you feel better or to cover his own behind in the very off chance that he is wrong, leading some people--even a lot of people--to worry that they may have something even worse because he left the door open. And side affects are always listed by drug companies and doctors should even have access to information on about how many people develop each side affect; my Depo Provera insert, for instance, contained that sort of information; I know doctors have books they can look it up in. What sounds worse: "This may cause diarrhea" or "Only 1-2% of people taking this get diarrhea"? If anything worries you, always, always ask for clarification. Heck, if you're worried about having undetected colon cancer, ask your doctor what the odds are that you--given your age, sex, lifestyle and family history and the tests you have run--may have it. He may tell you that the odds are 1% that that someone like you has colon cancer and a thousandth of 1% that they missed it given the tests that they've run. Wouldn't that make you feel better?