BMJ 1995; 311 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.311.7014.1238 (Published 04 November 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;311:1238

The treatment of choice for rectal cancer is total mesorectal excision, a difficult operation that takes three to five hours (British Journal of Surgery 1995;82:1297-9). Surgeons in Scandinavia have agreed that the operation should be attempted only by surgeons who have been specially trained and who do the operation at least 10 times a year. The first British training workshop for the procedure took place last April. If this operation comes into general use the improvement in outcome could be substantial--on one estimate four times that achievable by adjuvant chemotherapy and at a fraction of the cost.

Women patients who have sexual relationships with men doctors are typically portrayed in the popular tabloid press as “busty blondes,” says an analysis of press coverage reported in “Sociology of Health and Illness” (1995;17:458-76). The men, by contrast, are presented as light hearted sex rompers who were tempted into sexual indiscretion.

The human genome project is forging ahead, identifying long sequences of thousands of the 100000 genes that determine the growth and development of Homo sapiens. Unique sequences have been determined that identify around half the genes (Science 1995;270:368-9)-- but, says one of theresearchers, “We don't have a clue about the function of three quarters …

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