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September 12, 1936


Author Affiliations


From the Division of Surgical Pathology, the Mayo Clinic.

JAMA. 1936;107(11):844-845. doi:10.1001/jama.1936.02770370008002

Cancer must be recognized and treated early if the best results are to be obtained. This has been the theme of all professional and popular international, national, state and county campaigns for many years.

The question arises: Are we recognizing cancer early? In 1918 I began a series of observations to determine just what effect cancer campaigns were having on the actual sizes of cancers being removed surgically. As pointed out by Balfour, Harrington and Rankin, only 25 per cent of the cancers of the stomach, 50 per cent of cancers of the breast and 58 per cent of the cancers of the large intestine are operable when seen by surgeons. These figures have not changed appreciably over a period of fourteen years. There has been little or no change in the average size or percentage of those having glandular involvement in this same period.1 There has been certainly