Breast Cancer: a Diagnosis of Deceit

A prominent researcher fudged data in a study that led surgeons to change how they operate on patients

It takes an extraordinary amount of self-confidence to wield a scalpel with skill, but most surgeons never approach the audacity of Dr. Roger Poisson. From 1977 to 1990, the French-Canadian physician falsified data on scores of patients so that he could enroll as many people as possible in important research studies on the treatment of breast cancer. To conceal the deception from the trial's American coordinators, the former head of oncology at St. Luc's Hospital in Montreal kept a double set of medical files labeled "true" and "false." His office even submitted progress reports for one woman two years after her...

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