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May 15, 1909


JAMA. 1909;LII(20):1553-1557. doi:10.1001/jama.1909.25420460001001

The treatment of cancer of the breast still demands the most thorough excision possible. The use, in operable cases, of x-rays, toxins, yeasts and ferments, radium and similar methods, is, in my opinion, wholly unjustifiable. There is little if any encouragement that methods will soon be found of sufficient merit to replace the knife. Resort to other treatment than excision takes away the only reasonable chance of permanent cure. I see an appalling number of cases of hopeless cancer, which have become inoperable under methods with some scientific basis, to be sure, but as useless as osteopathy or Christian Science. There is certainly a sufficiently wide field for the trial of non-operative methods without taking the easily operable cases. The layman, however, does not know this: many physicians do not. Between the hopeful layman and the optimistic physician, the period favorable to operation is too often passed, and the

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