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June 18, 1904


JAMA. 1904;XLII(25):1626-1627. doi:10.1001/jama.1904.02490700026005

Of all difficult problems in medical statistics, none offers more obstacles or shows more indecisive results than the figures compiled to ascertain the influence of heredity on the occurrence of malignant tumors. What with ignorance of patients concerning their family history, and the greater tendency among those with cancer to look up and know about the family record in this respect than among the non-cancerous, beside many other sources of error, there arise serious difficulties in the way of arriving at conclusions that are of real value. For this reason we find authorities differing most widely in their estimate of the importance of hereditary influence. There are those who are convinced that heredity is of great moment, and those who do not believe inheritance plays any part in the occurrence of cancer, beside still a third class, who, although recognizing inheritance as a factor in the etiology of cancer, do

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