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JAMA 100 Years Ago
March 21, 2001


Author Affiliations

JAMA 100 Years Ago Section Editor: Jennifer Reiling, Assistant Editor.

JAMA. 2001;285(11):1410. doi:10.1001/jama.285.11.1410

The industry with which the study of carcinoma is being pursued raises the hope that we shall before long be made familiar with its causative agent and be thereby provided likewise with the means for its prevention and possibly also for its cure. The attainment of these objects is especially to be desired, inasmuch as carcinoma is one fortunately of a gradually lessening number of diseases in the face of whose treatment the physician stands almost hopeless and helpless. It is true that early and adequate surgical removal will in a gratifying proportion of cases be attended with permanent cure, but only time can then bring assurance that all morbid tissue and cells have been removed and that metastasis has not already occurred and recurrence or even re-development will not take place. For these reasons any method of treatment, however startling and unusual that promises amelioration, if not cure, and does not unduly imperil the safety of the patient should receive respectful and considerate attention, especially if it emanate from a reputable source. A suggestion along these lines has recently been made by Mr. Cecil H. Leaf, assistant surgeon to the London Cancer Hospital1 with regard to treatment of cases of carcinoma of the breast that are unsuited for operation. He points out that with the exception of oöphorectomy, conjoined with the administration of thyroid extract, the measures heretofore employed have had little effect in checking the onward progress of the disease and that even by this means, although the growth may be temporarily arrested, no permanent good is effected, signs of renewed activity again becoming apparent after a time.

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