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December 3, 1960

Adenocarcinoma of the Large BowelFactors Seemingly Responsible for Unrealistically Optimistic Appraisals of Current Curative Achievements, and a Suggestion for Improvement of Therapeutic Results

JAMA. 1960;174(14):1789-1793. doi:10.1001/jama.1960.03030140011003

The prognosis in carcinoma of the large intestine is, in the opinion of the author, poorer than might be inferred from current medical literature. Emphasis on results of treating selected patients tends to obscure the fact that most patients will not achieve a five-year survival. More extensive excision might reduce the frequency of recurrences but tends to meet with opposition from both surgeons and patients; earlier treatment is endorsed by both cancer societies and physicians but depends on the alertness and cooperation of the patient. The signs and symptoms of intestinal cancer, although known to nearly every physician, often go unrecognized by the patient as long as six months before diagnosis is made. Intestinal cancer would probably be curable in the average case if patients could be taught the basic facts and conducted themselves accordingly.