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November 1968

Book Reviews

Arch Intern Med. 1968;122(5):461-462. doi:10.1001/archinte.1968.00040010461025

The management of cancer has never been simple or satisfactory. In the not too distant past, a relatively limited evaluation could ascertain whether the patient was beyond curative primary therapy. If this proved to be the case, the clinician felt his therapeutic responsibility was terminated; he concentrated his efforts on keeping the patient as comfortable as possible until the "end." This philosophy has not changed, but where formerly it meant morphine and empathy, now in addition to these pillars of medical practice, we have many therapies: alone and in combination, tested and experimental, helpful and harmful. To add to the confusion of the clinician, even the definition of what "is beyond curative primary therapy" is becoming more difficult to determine. Examples are numerous: lymphangiography revolutionized the significance of staging in Hodgkin's Disease; this helped to change the approach to therapy. Radiation therapy undertakes to reduce surgically inoperable lesions to operable