November 13, 1987

Fleeting Wisdom

Author Affiliations

Shreveport, La

Shreveport, La

JAMA. 1987;258(18):2527. doi:10.1001/jama.1987.03400180061014

To the Editor.—  I am afraid that I could not allow the article entitled "Fleeting Wisdom"1 published in the June 19th issue to fleet without comment. The article described a man aged 106 years who died following surgery for basal cell carcinoma of the face and decried treatment such as this in a patient of his age. I had the misfortune to see a patient 20 years ago, when I was a resident, who had been treated otherwise. This man was at the time 102 years of age and when his diagnosis of basal cell carcinoma was made, at the age of 99 years, his physician decided not to treat him because of his age.I was allowed over the next three years, due to the massive size of the lesion when first seen by me, to watch basal cell carcinoma earn its synonym, rodent ulcer. This elderly man