Hypothesis. The importance of a histological diagnosis when diagnosing and treating advanced cancer. Famous patient recovery may not have been from metastatic disease
Article first published online: 22 FEB 2012
© 2011 The Authors. Internal Medicine Journal © 2011 Royal Australasian College of Physicians
Internal Medicine Journal
Volume 42, Issue 2, pages 212–216, February 2012
How to Cite
Haines, I. E. and Lowenthal, R. M. (2012), Hypothesis. The importance of a histological diagnosis when diagnosing and treating advanced cancer. Famous patient recovery may not have been from metastatic disease. Internal Medicine Journal, 42: 212–216. doi: 10.1111/j.1445-5994.2011.02686.x
Conflict of interest: None.
Disclaimer: All clinical details in this manuscript have come from publicly available sources, which have been cited. We did not use or have access to any privileged material.
- Issue published online: 22 FEB 2012
- Article first published online: 22 FEB 2012
- Accepted manuscript online: 21 DEC 2011 09:16AM EST
- Received 27 April 2011; accepted 18 October 2011.
Vol. 42, Issue 4, 480, Article first published online: 13 APR 2012
- advanced and metastatic cancer;
- osteogenic sarcoma;
- accurate histological diagnosis;
- choosing appropriate treatment
Over the past 33 years, mystery has surrounded the diagnosis and treatment of a very influential Australian patient. In the long gap between amputation of his leg for osteogenic sarcoma and successful treatment for widespread tuberculosis, he was told he had advanced and incurable metastatic sarcoma. Details of his recovery and the treatments used have been extensively described. An alternative hypothesis is advanced to explain his recovery. This hypothesis is advanced for two reasons. The first is to underline the modern recognition of the need to consider diagnostic investigations, including biopsy, before assigning the diagnosis of advanced cancer to any patient. This principle is especially vital in cases where two diseases can present in the same way. The second is that there a risk that if diseases are incorrectly labelled, incorrect treatments may be given. This can lead to misleading interpretations being made about non-traditional treatments providing ‘cures’, which can influence the decision-making of patients seeking answers and even lead them away from potentially curative traditional treatments.