Cancer: The Prophets of Doom

DISTURBING NEWS ABOUT BREAST CANCER was the six-column headline in the New York Herald Tribune. Sent to almost 100 papers that take the Trib's news service, the story began: "There is dreadful news about breast cancer." Across the U.S., hospitals and doctors got agonized inquiries from women who had had operations for breast cancer, or were about to have them.

The Tribune had taken from the A.M.A. Journal the text of a talk given last June by Baltimore Surgeon Edward F. Lewison. And the talk was little more than quotes from a book Lewison had published eight years earlier, contending...

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