The Wall Street Journal has two articles today that report on the benefits of doing nothing. According to the Journal, “Inaction May Work for Some Types of Prostate Cancer,” and “Childbirth Incision Doesn’t Help.”
It appears that many men with nonaggressive prostate cancer can live for 20 years or more without disease progression. They can avoid surgery and radiation that often cause incontinence and impotence. This finding has broader implications, because new diagnostic techniques are being developed that will spot many kinds of cancer long before they pose a threat. The question then becomes whether to treat and how.
And it turns out that episiotomies, small incisions to enlarge the vaginal opening during childbirth, cause more injuries than they prevent. There is also more pain, more trouble healing, and more difficulty returning to sexual activity.
Who knows? If doing nothing proves useful in enough situations it could help slow health care spending.May 4, 2005