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To the Editor:—
May I presume upon your precious time to point out a few salient facts? Your excellent section labeled Correspondence has, it seems to me, been overflowing with controversial but often inaccurate letters of late. I am sure it is your wish to interest the reader by drawing him more fully into debatable subjects, yet I fear you do yourself a disservice by printing such epistles as "Breast Cancer" (172:1083 [March 5] 1960). McWhirter, I believe, uses the word "operable" in Haagensen's original sense; i. e., according to his criteria for operability. This is the point. According to Haagensen's criteria many "inoperable" patients had five-year cures. Further, your reader mistakes the purpose of radiation therapy—that is, not to kill all cells but to retard growth and cause walling-off fibrosis, thus limiting their further growth or spread. He therefore asks "Does axillary radiation, then, not cure but merely
J. A. T.. OPERABILITY. JAMA. 1960;173(2):202. doi:10.1001/jama.1960.03020200074024