August 1963

Comments on "Cancer Mortality Rate"

Author Affiliations


Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1963;9(2):179-180. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1963.01720140075012

In the article "Cancer Mortality Rate" published in the May, 1962, issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, Lawrence LeShan advanced statistical evidence on the effect of psychological factors on the cancer mortality rate. The following comments on that article indicate that the statistical evidence presented does not constitute a satisfactory argument.

LeShan attempted to demonstrate the psychological factors of the cancer mortality rates by correlating the cancer mortality rates with the suicide mortality rates from 1914 to 1953. (The data used were from the Vital Statistics, Special Reports, vol 43, No. 11, June 27, 1956, and vol 43, No. 30, Aug 22, 1956, National Office of Vital Statistics, US Public Health Service, US Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.) Many of the correlations he computed were large in absolute value. From this, the conclusion was drawn that both the cancer mortality rate and the suicide mortality rate shared, at

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