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Richard H. Sweet, M.D.
AMA Arch Surg. 1954;69(1):1-3. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1954.01270010003001.
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PERUSAL of the recent surgical literature and conversations with various surgeons reveal that, in this country particularly, there is an increasing sense of discouragement with the results of surgical treatment of carcinoma of the esophagus. This sometimes arises from the fact that premature conclusions are drawn from an inadequate experience. Obviously the law of statistical averages makes it possible for a small series to include by chance alone an unusually large number of either unfavorable or favorable cases. Thus among recent reports based upon a limited experience one author denies that there are any five-year survivals after surgical extirpation of the disease and another proclaims that in a group of patients operated upon for carcinoma of the lower esophagus, 41.6 per cent lived five years. Neither of these conclusions could be accurate because of the small size of the series in each instance.

Another reason for the current discouragement, but


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