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Article
September 6, 1947

DELAY IN THE DIAGNOSIS OF CANCER

Author Affiliations

New York

From the Medical Department, Memorial Hospital; Associate Attending Physician (Dr. Leach) and National Cancer Institute Fellow (Dr. Robbins).

JAMA. 1947;135(1):5-8. doi:10.1001/jama.1947.02890010007002
Abstract

Theoretically, all cancers would be curable if the diagnosis were made quickly enough and the proper treatment were applied immediately. Because in some sites the disease may be insidious in onset and so protean in its early symptomatology, this goal will never be reached until the cause of cancer is determined or until the universal cure for cancer is found. With all the advances made in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer in the last twenty-five years, it is a fact that the reduction of cancer mortality, potentially possible, has hardly begun. The primary reason for this failure is not due to inadequate therapeutic measures. The basic cause for the lack of improvement is the prolonged delay between the time when the patient has first symptoms and the time when definitive treatment begins.

In Dorn's1 recent survey it has been estimated that there are 300,000 new cases of cancer

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