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December 22, 1917


JAMA. 1917;LXIX(25):2117-2118. doi:10.1001/jama.1917.02590520039016

There is no doubt that the number of deaths recorded as due to cancer has shown a marked increase in the last few decades in all cities and countries for which reliable statistics are available. A sharp difference of opinion exists, however, as to whether the reported mortality represents a real or an apparent increase in the disease itself. It is evident that improvements in diagnosis must account for a part of the reported increase, that deaths now recognized to be from certain forms of cancer were earlier not diagnosed as such, but were reported under deaths from "old age" or other ill defined or unknown causes. It is when statisticians attempt to determine the relative importance of this factor in swelling the list of cancer deaths that they encounter statistical difficulties, and split into two groups: those who hold that cancer mortality is increasing more or less rapidly throughout

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