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A Piece of My Mind
March 14, 2012

Underestimating the Value of Reassurance

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, and Department of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada (adetsky@mtsinai.on.ca).

JAMA. 2012;307(10):1035-1036. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.235

Birthdays that end in zero provoke reflection on past achievements and future plans. And as the decades advance, one's health and mortality come into focus. When I turned 50, I wrote about my personal experience with screening colonoscopy.1 This year, as I turned 60, the Canadian news was dominated by the death of a high-profile politician who had previously revealed that he had prostate cancer, ran a vigorous national election campaign in the spring of 2011, and then subsequently announced a temporary leave of absence due to the illness.2 At that time he appeared to have widespread metastatic disease and died a few weeks later. The thoughts of many Canadian men older than 50 years (including me) turned to their risks of having prostate cancer.

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