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July 23, 1949


JAMA. 1949;140(12):997-1001. doi:10.1001/jama.1949.02900470001001

There are, perhaps, few conditions which cause as much anxiety and worry to the patient as do tumors of the breast. The reasons are not simple or clear. The breast is, of course, the most superficially placed of all organs where cancer frequently occurs, but there are deep psychogenic reasons which make the thought of loss of the breast terrifying to the average woman.

Five years ago, in our personal practice, we operated on as many cancers of the breast as we did on benign lesions of the breast. For the past three years, our operative records show twice as many benign tumors as cancers. In addition, the number of breast conditions seen and not operated on now almost equals the number in which there was surgical intervention (table 1). We also noticed that the number of patients with breast conditions seemed to increase during and immediately after periods of

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