"Romald was almost glad to hear he had lung cancer"

There is pressure on doctors to minimise expensive intervention and testing, but in this case there was no option, writes Dr Andrew Macdonald.

Romald was almost pleased to hear he had lung cancer, but his joy was to be short-lived. It came about like this.

He had been educated overseas and, at 80 years of age, was long retired from his job in civil engineering. He had smoked a pipe most of his adult life, as did his father before him. In his retirement, he enjoyed mainly intellectual pursuits, a lot of quiet reading and the

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