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My October editorial1 generated three replies. Dr McGuigan2 argues that, to avoid delays, process rather than outcome is seminal to any assessment of the individual surgeon. I suggest that to the patient (I speak from experience), outcome is climacteric. Dr Tobias3 reminds us about the benefits of radiation and chemoradiation therapy, also reviewed lately by Geh et al.4 My editorial was aimed at prevention of another surgical outcomes scandal, not at defining 21st century treatment. Geh's article makes it plain that surgery for oesophageal cancer will be necessary for the foreseeable future. Let us make it as safe as possible. As for Professor Hughes5 with his comment on my Latin, to him I can only say quidquid praecipies, esto brevis. In three sanguine lines, I think he did just that.