Why do some women refuse treatments for their breast cancer?

I write about alternative cancer treatments a lot, in particular the lack of evidence for such practices, many of which are at best pseudoscientific and at worst pure mystical nonsense. The reason, of course, is simple. I’m a breast cancer surgeon, and I hate seeing people who might be saved from death due to cancer falling prey to treatments that demonstrably lessen their chances of survival, either by leading patients to reject effective treatment in favor of ineffective or even harmful treatments or, at the very least, to delay effective treatment until the patient realizes that the quackery chosen isn’t preventing the growth and spread of his or her tumor. This can sometimes take a long time. I’ve seen women with breast cancer whose breasts were basically eaten away until there was nothing left but an ulcerated mass on their chest—more than that, a bleeding, rotting, malodorous ulcerated mass. Yes,


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