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October 17, 1925


JAMA. 1925;85(16):1224. doi:10.1001/jama.1925.02670160050013

Whether cancer mortality is actually increasing, or whether the increase is only apparent and is due merely to more frequent diagnosis of the disease, are matters of constant argumentation. The influence of heredity is likewise debated. Doubtless the answers lie in statistical studies expertly pursued. The publication of the article by Schereschewsky in this issue of The Journal causes us to take account again of our knowledge in this field. In 1923, William T. Howard1 tried to answer two questions: Is cancer actually increasing? Is it really curable? He confined himself to material found in Baltimore, where cancer mortality has been reported with fair consistency since 1813. Correcting for the increase in recorded death rates, the influence of sex, race and age, and the effect of improvement in diagnosis and statistical classification, he concluded, first, that neither the incidence nor the mortality of cancer is increasing among those exposed