Maybe we should address illness literacy rather than health literacy

One of the major concerns for health ‘consumers’ has been around health literacy. But in reality most health individuals actually don’t worry too much about health. One of the issues we might really need to think about is illness literacy, and in particular death literacy.

Most people, aside from their doctors, don’t understand the trajectory of their illnesses, with or without treatment.

I can’t help but think if people actually understood the natural history of their illness that there would be better decisions about dealing with the end of life.

The reality is, in my profession, that incurable cancers have an inexorable, unalterable final outcome.. The ‘miracle treatments’ mostly aren’t and many individuals can’t or maybe won’t accept the inevitable. Whilst we never want to diminish hope, perhaps a reasonable understanding of what can be achieved could lead to less futile, toxic treatment, and better deaths,

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