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Letters
September 15, 2010

Patient Decisions to Undergo Surgery for Early-Stage Lung Cancer—Reply

JAMA. 2010;304(11):1165. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.1312

In Reply: Dr Margolis and colleagues previously evaluated patient beliefs and the hypothetical acceptance of lung cancer surgery.1 In our study, 57% of African American patients held the belief that exposure to air during surgery spreads the cancer, a percentage very close to the 61% reported in the study by Margolis et al. This similarity likely precludes any regional peculiarities concerning this issue. However, our patients actually had lung cancer and faced urgent treatment decisions, while less than 5% of the participants in the study by Margolis et al faced such decisions and their consequences. This difference between the actual and the hypothetical may explain the lack of influence that the air-exposure belief had on surgical rate in our report.

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