Some doctors say most patients do want to know and many doctors say it's their duty to inform them.
Other doctors say it's irresponsible to hand over such information.
SBS's Insight program has spoken to a group of terminally ill patients about what it's like to know their dying day, and what changes they have - and haven't - made to the remainder of their lives.
Darren Mara spoke with Insight host Jenny Brockie about what they had to say.
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And you can watch the Insight episode on dying on Tuesday 12 November on SBS One.