If I Am Not For Myself …

As reported by the New York Times, there may be a day when many women do not have to suffer through the chemotherapy routinely prescribed for nearly all patients diagnosed with breast cancer. But the questions raised by new research will have to be answered by patients with enough on their minds beyond interpreting statistics that even scientists have trouble with.

For instance, should you go with chemotherapy and accept all its ravages even if there is a 90 percent chance you can be cured without it? Most people, the Times suggests, say yes, such is the power of the word “cancer.”

The debate over how best to prevent and treat breast cancer also may help people with other conditions better understand the promise and pitfalls of evidence. As in all of science, information is too abundant and too conflicting for anyone to produce a 100 percent conclusive answer.

In the end, the biggest question anyone has to ponder when offered any treatment for any disease has to be: “Is this right for me?”

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