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November 19, 1949


Author Affiliations

Brookline, Mass.

Fellow in Thoracic Surgery, Tufts College Medical School (Dr. Schmidt).; From the Department of Surgery, Tufts College Medical School, and member of the Staff, New England Deaconess and New England Center Hospitals, Boston (Dr. Overholt).

JAMA. 1949;141(12):817-821. doi:10.1001/jama.1949.02910120005002

Fate has challenged physicians in a peculiar way with respect to primary cancer of the lung. The problem is magnified by an astounding increase in numbers, yet it is simplified by facilities for early detection. In fact, of all internal cancers, those originating in the lung should be the most readily discovered while still locally confined. The lesions not only can be found but can be properly labeled. Excision of the cancer-bearing lung has been shown to be feasible, relatively safe and effective. Therefore physicians have the tools with which to find, label and successfully treat cancer in this location.

EXTENT OF PROGRESS  Cure of cancer of the lung was never seriously considered prior to 1933, when total excision of the lung was shown to be possible. During subsequent years, correlated studies of symptoms, roentgenographic shadows, bronchoscopic observations, cellular elements of sputum and surgically detected pathologic conditions have been made.