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Comments on Laetrile

William F. Spence, MD
Arch Intern Med. 1977;137(7):964. doi:10.1001/archinte.1977.03630190104031.
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To the Editor.—  The EDITORIAL COMMENTARY in the August issue of the Archives (136:865-866, 1976) entitled "Chihuahuas and Laetrile, Chelation Therapy, and Honey From Boulder, Colo" was interesting. It was pointed out quite correctly that evidence to date indicates the substance to be "worthless but harmless." As a practicing oncologist, I believe the handling of the laetrile "problem" is nonsensical. The commentary stated that the great danger from laetrile lies in the temptation presented to the cancer victim to resort to it rather than seek early medical attention. My observation is that people who do seek laetrile know they have cancer and have had that diagnosis presented to them by a physician. Any delay in seeking medical attention is seldom due to a distraction by laetrile because such people may fear but do not know that they have cancer.It was also stated that we have been successful in preventing


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