Doctors are caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to being fully honest with a patient, especially when it comes to a life and death matter. Should they be fully honest? Yeah, I guess. The patient has a right to know what he or she is facing down the road. But the doc knows that a disease like prostate cancer, even in advanced stages, could take years to threaten survival. So a good number of medical professionals don't want to throw the patient into a deep depression and compound the problems. After all - they're in the business of healing.
I have locally advanced disease. I've been darn lucky since my PSA has remained low or undetectable (depending on which test you look at) coming up on 4 years. My PCP tells me that he's not at all worried about a recurrence. First off, of course he's not worried. It's not his cancer. Secondly, he wants to put my mind at ease. And I appreciate that because I know where he's coming from. But in my heart I know I'll always be at significant risk for recurrence. I've had to play psychological tricks on myself to abate the anxiety that goes along with it. So am I resentful that my doc is playing rosy word games with me? No, not at all. The man is using his best judgment. I'd likely do the same if I were in his position. He doesn't want to pile on more stress factor. Now, if I had 4 months to live I have no doubt he'd tell me to get my personal affairs in order. But why freak me out and tell me I have a 60% chance for a recurrence when all it's going to do is put me in a funk? What good does that do?
When it comes to honesty you have to analyze the situation. Sometimes it makes sense to lie. Even for doctors.
i'd rather have the truth. I think the patient has the right to know and lying is causing harm.