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Michael Baum
emeritus professor of surgery and visiting professor of medical humanities at University College London, chair of the Psychosocial Oncology Committee at the National Cancer Research Institute, and editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Surgery

I trained as a general surgeon and developed a parallel career in breast cancer research. My subject is at a very exciting time in its evolution with a 30% reduction in mortality described since 1985 thanks to improvements in treatment, which followed a conceptual revolution about the very nature of the disease. The biggest challenge we face is complacency leading to a ‘more of the same’ approach. The solution is to constantly look for and cherish the ‘outlying’ observations that will signal the time for another paradigm shift; that time is rapidly approaching!

There are many straws in the wind that suggest that the anti-science lobby is gaining ground and we are in danger of a return to a pre-enlightenment age ironically fuelled by post-modernism. If as a society we wish to make progress not only in science and medicine but also in our quality of life, then we must challenge the threat of the anti-science lobby by bringing the intellectual honesty of the scientific process into the political arena.

Michael Baum is coauthor of Breast Cancer (buy this book from Amazon (UK) or Amazon (USA)), and coeditor of History and Advancement of Anastrozole in the Treatment of Breast Cancer (buy this book from Amazon (UK) or Amazon (USA)).

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