BMJ 1997; 314 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.314.7081.688 (Published 01 March 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;314:688

In Britain about 60% of children found to have cancer are cured, and, before long, one in 1000 of the population will be a survivor of childhood cancer (British Medical Bulletin 1996;52:898-923). The best known long term complications are second cancers (which affect 3.7% of survivors within 25 years) and damage to the pituitary and the gonads, but many other organs may also be affected by radiation and chemotherapy. Long term surveillance is needed on a national basis.

The appropriate surveillance of patients who have had apparently curative resection of a lung cancer is more problematical. A review in Chest (1997;111:99-102) concludes that the only good reason for regular outpatient follow up is to strengthen the bond between the patient and the physician–which will not be achieved if the follow up appointments are made with a succession of different doctors.

English law fails to recognise any right to possession of a corpse, which cannot therefore be stolen. However, says an editorial in the Journal of Clinical Pathology (1997;50:90-1), once a body has undergone some preservation process requiring human skill it seems to acquire the characteristics of property. So it may be an offence to steal a mummy or a pathological specimen; skeletons are more questionable, though the wire connections and the tooth fillings may tip the …

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