Medical professionals are much less likely to tell their patients of an Alzheimer's disease diagnosis than diagnoses of other chronic or incurable diseases such as cancer, the Alzheimer's Association has found.

In its annual look at trends, financial costs, and research into the dementia-causing illness, the nonprofit reported last week that doctors and other providers give people with Alzheimer's their diagnosis about 45 percent of the time. The disclosure rate is 93 percent for diagnoses of cancers that affect the breast, colon, rectum, lung, or prostate.

This was not because the disease, which destroys people's memories and ability to learn, had caused them to forget. The report compared analyses of Medicare records with surveys of both beneficiaries and caregivers.

A common reason for failure to disclose a diagnosis of Alzheimer's was the perceived stigma of the disease and reluctance to cause additional emotional stress, the report said. - Washington Post