Do No Harm: How a Magic Bullet for Prostate Cancer Became a Medical Quandary

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9781566636278: Do No Harm: How a Magic Bullet for Prostate Cancer Became a Medical Quandary
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A fascinating medical detective story about the unusual reception for a promising new drug by a skeptical medical community reluctant to abandon its age-old Hippocratic Oath of "Do No Harm." Stewart Justman explains how a pill called finasteride, proven to dramatically reduce the incidence of prostate cancer, was found to be also associated with a distinctly higher rate of aggressive cancer. As urologists and oncologists were presented with a strange mix of eurekas and cautionary notes, physicians adhered to their best principles and remained wary of massive application. For now, the drug is deemed too risky: the medical dictum of avoiding harm has inhibited its use on a grand scale, though statistically there is much in its favor. Do No Harm is engrossing reading about medical science and, finally, a reassuring tale of the triumph of tradition over novelty.

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About the Author:

Stewart Justman won the PEN Award for the Art of the Essay for his book Seeds of Mortality, published by Ivan R. Dee in 2003. He lives in Missoula, Montana.

From Publishers Weekly:

In 2003 a medical study reported that a steroid called finasteride (approved as a treatment for hair loss) significantly cut the incidence of prostate cancer in men at low risk. But it also had a dark side: clinical studies indicated that men who did develop cancer while taking the drug tended to get more aggressive tumors. English prof and PEN Award winner Justman (Seeds of Mortality) examines why, despite finasteride's potential, American doctors have shied away from giving it to their male patients, and attributes it to the traditional oath to do no harm. Justman claims that the oath is outdated and paternalistic, dating to a time when doctors often did more harm than good. He also cites those who say the benefits of finasteride far outweigh its risks. But he acknowledges that the FDA has not approved finasteride for cancer prevention, and he neglects to consider adequately as a contributing factor the sword of Damocles that swings over so much of modern life: liability lawsuits. Justman tends to be prolix and repetitious. This book may appeal to readers interested in medical ethics and the history of science, but is unlikely to have much draw for general readers. (Apr. 4)
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Book Description Ivan R Dee, Inc, United States, 2008. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. A fascinating medical detective story about the unusual reception for a promising new drug by a skeptical medical community reluctant to abandon its age-old Hippocratic Oath of Do No Harm. Stewart Justman explains how a pill called finasteride, proven to dramatically reduce the incidence of prostate cancer, was found to be also associated with a distinctly higher rate of aggressive cancer. As urologists and oncologists were presented with a strange mix of eurekas and cautionary notes, physicians adhered to their best principles and remained wary of massive application. For now, the drug is deemed too risky: the medical dictum of avoiding harm has inhibited its use on a grand scale, though statistically there is much in its favor. Do No Harm is engrossing reading about medical science and, finally, a reassuring tale of the triumph of tradition over novelty. Seller Inventory # ANB9781566636278

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