Medicine: Early & Operable

It is often said that early cancer is curable. Yet almost every doctor knows patients who discovered a tiny mass, had prompt treatment, but soon died from fast-spreading disease. Why? Main reason, says the University of Chicago's Pathologist Paul E. Steiner, is that "early" means many different things.

It may mean early 1) in the sense that it has only just begun to produce signs and symptoms; 2) in the anatomical sense of being small; 3) in the topographical sense of being localized; 4) in the technical (histological) sense of not having invaded other tissues; 5) in the sense of still being...

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