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Fortunately for the physician, the majority of human ills for which he is consulted are self-limited or are only matters of temporary discomfort that can be remedied with relative ease. Nevertheless, every human being must have one fatal disease or accident. From the philosophical standpoint it could be argued that life itself is the only inevitably fatal condition, yet it is obvious that there are many pathological states that result in inexorable death. These fatal diseases have been progressively eliminated by advances in medical science until there are only three main categories of causes of fatality, namely, cardiac failure and the degenerative diseases in the broad sense, accidents and war, and malignant neoplastic diseases.
Of death due to these three problems, death due to cancer is the most preventable from the standpoint of the individual physician. Therein lies the tragic irony of this disease. Death from cancer should be unnecessary,
Taylor SG, Slaughter D. THE PHYSICIAN AND THE CANCER PATIENT. JAMA. 1952;150(10):1012-1015. doi:10.1001/jama.1952.63680100011015