In a recent U.S. News & World Report article, Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN) Chief Medical Officer Victoria Manax, MD, helped address the issue of patients lying to their doctors.

Appointments with physicians can cause anxiety, which can influence how patients may respond to questions they are asked. Feeling stressed and trying to say what he thinks the doctor wants to hear, a patient may not share what is entirely the truth.

Manax notes that “these patients aren’t blatantly lying, per se.” She believes that doctors should try to ask questions in a particular way to get the information they need.

Doctors agree that patients tend to get uncomfortable with questions on the topics of sex, smoking and alcohol. Manax suggests that if a doctor knows a patient smokes, they could follow up with questions such as: Would you say you smoke in social situations or at regular times? Do you smoke more when you feel stressed?

A patient is going to want to answer the questions more precisely and accurately if they don’t perceive judgment from the doctor, Manax says.

“Understanding what makes that patient feel safe is the way you need to approach things,” she adds.

Not sharing the whole truth with your doctor could also possibly have a harmful impact on your health, based on misinformation or a lack of it.

Doctors advise to be upfront with them as much as possible, because they can only help you as much as you will allow them. The more honest you are, the more comfortable you will feel seeing your doctor, and the more successful your working relationship will be.

You should feel comfortable and supported by your healthcare team. PanCAN strongly recommends seeking a healthcare team that suits all your physical, mental and emotional needs.

Contact Patient Central for personalized information and support services.

Read the full U.S. News & World Report article.