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August 7, 1926


JAMA. 1926;87(6):415-416. doi:10.1001/jama.1926.02680060039013

One of the main difficulties in accepting the hypothesis that cancer is caused by specific infectious agents of any sort lies in the well established fact that cancer is not contagious in any recognizable degree, if at all. To be sure, the older literature often tells of cancer houses, cancer epidemics and cancer wells, and there has been much discussion of cancer à deux. But the evidence of contagion of cancer as implied in these discussions has failed to meet critical investigation, and at present none of it is accepted as established by most of the best authorities on cancer. Even much that has been written of contact infection between two surfaces of the same person, as lip to lip or tongue to cheek, is of doubtful authenticity. It is indeed striking that the innumerable opportunities for infection of surgeons and pathologists from the cancers they handle so freely have