Medicine: The Greater Fear

Napoleon's foolhardy bravery is an old story to most schoolboys. "Forward, comrades!" cried the Little Corporal at the battle of Montereau. "The cannon ball that will hit me has not been cast!"

Napoleon was unafraid of cannon because he was afraid of something else: cancer. So says Esther H. Vincent, librarian at Northwestern Medical School, in the current Surgery, Gynecology and Obstetrics, official journal of the American College of Surgeons. Writes Miss Vincent: "This fixed idea that he would die from cancer of the stomach saved [Napoleon] from fear of death in any other form. Wounded in battle, he took no heed,...

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