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Drastic treatment is not always the best

‘It is very easy for those of us treating cancer to imagine that better results are due to a more drastic treatment.

Randomized trials comparing drastic treatment with less drastic treatment are vital in order to protect patients from needless risk and the early or late side effects of unnecessarily aggressive treatment. The comparison is ethical because those who are denied possible benefit are also shielded from possible unnecessary harm – and nobody knows which it will turn out to be in the end.’

Brewin T in Rees G, ed. The friendly professional: selected writings of Thurstan Brewin. Bognor Regis: Eurocommunica, 1996.

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