by Jeffrey Dach MD
This article is Part One of a series. For Part Two, Click Here.
In 1977, I was a surgical intern at Rush Presbyterian St Luke’s Hospital on the west side of Chicago. One floor of the hospital was devoted to caring for women with breast cancer, supervised by attending surgeon, Steven Economou MD. Above Left image: courtesy of wikimedia commons, house staff on hospital rounds
As a surgical intern, it was mandatory to attend a daily ritual called “morning rounds” to start off every work day.(see left image) Wearing long white coats and stethoscopes, we followed Dr. Economou around the floor, from patient room to patient room, reviewing charts, performing bedside examinations, and dispensing orders for diagnostic testing and treatment.
A Game Called, “Stump the House Staff
During “Morning Rounds”, Dr. Economou enjoyed playing a game called, “Stump the House Staff”. He would think up difficult questions and pose them to us, as if they were were small darts thrown to an imaginary target painted on the forehead of one of us interns. As if it was yesterday, I can remember one such question he asked me:
“Dr. Dach, Does Estrogen cause breast cancer?”
I was a cocky intern, just out of medical school, so I replied:
Of course estrogen causes breast cancer. Estrogen stimulates growth of breast tissue, and any growth stimulation will cause cancer.”
I assumed Dr Economou knew the correct answer and would provide it. To my surprise, he was silent, and offered no reply. He changed the subject and we continued on to the next patient room.
Since that day in 1977, another 35 years of clinical research has elapsed, and medical science has embellished the answer in ways Dr Economou would have appreciated 35 years ago in 1977. Dr Steven G. Economou passed away at the age of 84 in 2007.(5)
Above left image: Steven Economou MD, Surgeon Rush Medical Center Chicago, courtesy of the NIH and Raphael E Pollock MD , Annals of Surgical Oncology March 2008.
Does Estrogen Cause Breast Cancer ?
For more see: Bioidentical Hormones For Breast Cancer Survivors
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