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Against Minimalism in Breast Cancer Follow-up

Michael D. Wertheimer, MDW, MD
JAMA. 1991;265(3):396-397. doi:10.1001/jama.1991.03460030102038.
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BREAST CANCER in 1990 continues to be a problem of major public health proportions. Approximately 10% of women in the United States (150 000) will be newly diagnosed in 1990 as having breast cancer. Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women and still one of the leading causes of death for adult American women. Approximately 44 000 women will die of breast cancer this year alone.1 This number approaches the total number of American deaths in the Vietnam Conflict.

These stark numbers mask a great deal of suffering and misery that statistics do not adequately portray and that neither clinical oncology nor public policy has been able to influence greatly. Effective prevention strategies are lacking, and research in this area is limited. The approach that has been taken to improve these grim statistics includes mammographic screening for early detection of disease, aggressive primary and adjuvant therapy, and


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