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To the Editor:—
Dr. Everett D. Sugarbaker's communication entitled "Extended Radical Mastectomy" appearing in the Jan 11, 1964, issue of The Journal (187:96) presents some interesting statistics. He concludes from these statistics that every responsible surgeon should add en bloc removal of the internal mammary nodes to his technique. Further, in the editorial section of the same issue (p 143), Dr. Warren Cole states his belief that this represented progress in the attempt to increase the survival rate after surgical therapy for cancer.As so often happens, this depends on how you interpret the statistics. Within Table 1 of Dr. Sugarbaker's report there is a neat breakdown of those who had the extended operation and those who had the conventional operation between 1951 and 1957. The survival rate of those having the conventional operation was 65%. The survival rate of those having the extended mastectomy was 71%. Those having
Howie DL. Mastectomy Statistics. JAMA. 1964;188(5):472. doi:10.1001/jama.1964.03060310072020