Minerva

Minerva

BMJ 1994; 308 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.308.6934.990 (Published 09 April 1994) Cite this as: BMJ 1994;308:990

Uncertainty continues over whether patients who have had surgery for peptic ulcer are at increased risk of gastric cancer. A follow up study of over 2000 such patients (Gut 1994;35:451-4) found a higher than expected rate of death from all causes, largely due to an excess of lung and other cancers related to smoking. The long term excess mortality is mainly attributable to cigarette smoking.

Shark cartilage seems to have replaced laetrile as the most popular alternative treatment for cancer, says a review in the “Medical Journal of Australia” (1994;160:323-4). Apparently, one basis for the treatment is the notion that sharks don't get cancer (which is not entirely true), and the remaining evidence is a couple of uncontrolled trials, one on rabbits and one on patients. The same issue of the journal (pp 320-2) reports that 46% of children with cancer being treated at one hospital in Adelaide had used at least one alternative therapy - often to give them hope and a feeling of control.

Electroconvulsive therapy has an established place in major depression, but its use in acute mania is more controversial. A review …

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