According to a study by researchers from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center that was published in the May 2014 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine, you cannot trust television and magazine ads for US cancer centers. They studied more than 400 ads and report that they mislead patients because they are heavy on emotional appeal and light on the real facts.
They found that only 2% quantified the benefits of treatment and none mentioned what patients could realistically expect from their treatment.
I have found much of the same happens when oncologists discuss possible side effects with their patients. For example, it is more the rule than the exception that people with chemotherapy induced neuropathies who come to me for treatment with infrared light were properly advised that their treatment could lead to such impressive disability. Many of them are very disappointed and angry and say that they would not have taken the treatment if they knew this is what could happen.
It is necessary and ethical that patients are informed about the benefits of treatment in terms of quality of life as well as the amount of life extension that is likely to occur on the average. It is also the responsibility of doctors, clinics, and centers to provide full disclosure of what can happen in terms of negative effects from their treatment.