June 24, 1899


Author Affiliations

Professor of Clinic Surgery in the Medical School of the Northwestern University, and Senior Surgeon of Mercy Hospital. CHICAGO.

JAMA. 1899;XXXII(25):1406-1409. doi:10.1001/jama.1899.92450520001002

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Much has been written of late on a supposed rapid increase of cancer. This disease is said to be growing at an incredible rate. Writers have predicted that in ten years its deaths will exceed those of "consumption, smallpox and typhoid fever all combined." Smallpox is included in this preposterous prophecy, apparently to exert a horrifying effect on the public imagination. The deaths from smallpox are so few that they add almost nothing to the mortality list of consumption and typhoid fever, which in the prophetic vision is to be overtopped so soon by that of cancer. However, the supposed terrific increase of cancer is supported by quite an array of statistics, which we will proceed to investigate.

Now, the correct handling of vital and mortuary statistics is a very difficult art, and slight mismanagement leads to very delusive results. Reputable authors on both sides of the ocean are making

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