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January 1949


Author Affiliations

From the Department of Surgery, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry.

Arch Surg. 1949;58(1):1-15. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1949.01240030004001

UNTIL better methods of treatment become available surgical intervention has and will have a definite place in the therapy of cancer. The theory on which the surgical approach is based is that cancer is a lethal condition. When it once starts, the course is steadily progressive. Reversal of the growth and spontaneous cure is almost unknown, occurring in 1 of 100,000 cases according to Bashford, cited by Rae.1 The rapidity of the process is conditioned by the age of the patient, the degree of differentiation of the cells, the hormone balance and other factors. In some instances the growth may be greatly retarded or even contained locally for considerable periods. But these instances are exceptional and not to be expected.

Surgical therapy should be based on accurate diagnosis because the surgical treatment of malignant growths is radical in type. Consequently few surgeons would feel on safe grounds if the

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