What is a prognosis?

Philip Lisagor, MD
Thoracic Surgery (Cardiothoracic Vascular)
Prognosis refers to how serious the doctor believes your medical situation is. A prognosis is usually given in terms of how long you have to live: years, months or weeks.

Doctors are not very good at giving a prognosis. Reasons why include:
  • The science of predicting the future is weak.
  • Doctors don't like to deliver bad news.
Statistics are complicated, and don't apply to individuals. They can be confusing.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.