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Article
March 1995

IN OTHER AMA JOURNALSARCHIVES OF PATHOLOGY & LABORATORY MEDICINEEthical Issues and the Breast Cancer Patient

Arch Surg. 1995;130(3):331. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1995.01430030101020

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Abstract

The association of cancer and death in laypeoples' thinking has resulted in discussions of cancer diagnoses often being held sub rosa. Open acceptance of a diagnosis of cancer cannot only help to dispel associated fears but also can serve to educate other persons to recognize that cancers can be cured. Open discussion of diagnoses of breast cancer by well-known public figures increasingly has focused media attention on related issues. Numerous ethical issues applicable to breast cancer (and to other chronic and/or cancer diagnoses) include: informed consent; education of relatives, friends, and public; patients' comfort in discussion of their diagnoses and treatment; access to care; and allocation of scarce resources. Genuine informed consent involves discussions of all relevant medical issues with the patient so that she understands the ramifications of the diagnoses, treatment, risks, and benefits of undergoing or of

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