Minerva Minerva


BMJ 2002; 324 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.324.7337.622 (Published 09 March 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;324:622

Lawyers in Australia have decided that exposure to tobacco smoke may cause cancer of the larynx (Medical Journal of Australia 2002;176:113-6). The Australian court decided that exposure to smoke “materially contributed to the cancer.” The decision was based on a scientific finding that the contribution of smoke to the cancer was “more than trivial.” Australian lawyers expect that more passive smokers will soon be filing claims against employers in bars and clubs.

Standard teaching is that the prognosis of polyarteritis nodosa is worse in patients aged over 50 at diagnosis. However, a case notes study in Paris (Medicine 2002;81:27-40) of patients aged over 65 found a survival of 70% at five years, a figure not significantly different from that in age matched controls. The authors conclude that the poor results reported in elderly patients simply reflect decreased life expectancy after the age of 65.

Ductal lavage is a “safe and minimally invasive procedure” that can provide additional useful information about women at high risk of breast cancer. A review in Cancer (2002;94:291-8) concluded that ductal lavage should not be seen as replacing mammography, but that it does add to the overall diagnostic picture. More long term studies are needed to …

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