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Regular Departements
August 1987

Do the Data Support the Conclusions?

Author Affiliations

Durham, NC

Arch Surg. 1987;122(8):959-960. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1987.01400200109032

To the Editor.—It is, unfortunately, not uncommon for authors of clinical surgical reports to arrive at conclusions and recommend policies that cannot be justified on the basis of their data or analyses. This is regrettable for the following reasons: (1) A lot of honest, hard work usually goes into generating the data. (2) The nondiscerning reader may be misled into accepting the conclusions at face value.

In a recent study, Larson et al1 recommended that "... examination of the remaining colon should be performed annually, preferably with colonoscopy, for at least the first four years after curative resection [of colorectal cancer]." Beyond the misgivings aired in the "Discussion," the authors failed to focus accurately on the desired outcome of the policy they recommended.

If the authors' interest ends with the discovery of polyps or cancer (recurrent or metachronous) at the earliest possible time, then perhaps colonoscopy should be performed even

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