Folklore Based Medicine?

Breast cancer theory supports African folklore – CNN.com

While they stressed that women should always get screening and quick treatment for breast cancer, they said their theory could also help explain the belief, widespread in parts of Africa and the United States, that removing a tumor can hasten death. “I must say that I am sure there is more to this than just a myth,” said Michael Retsky of Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts. His latest hypothesis, which he admits is not supported by any new direct research, is published in the International Journal of Surgery. He stressed that any woman with breast cancer should get the tumor removed. And he noted that in the United States, the women who could be considered at risk of having their cancer spread now get chemotherapy anyway, which would stop cancer’s spread.

Note, no direct evidence, no double blind trial, just a story? C’mon, you’re a Doctor. Surely, you know that CNN and the other media will take your qualifications, reservations and cautions  and shove them up your you know what to get a nice headline. Most people don’t read past the first two lines anyway, so nothing you say about your reservations will be transmitted to the public.

I hope you get the funding to prove/disprove your contention. Race based differences in treatment outcomes are not well studied, and are potentially very important. It is vital that more people look at this issue. But speculation based on modeling studies does not belong on CNN.

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