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Article
October 16, 1948

EARLY DIAGNOSIS OF CANCER BY STUDY OF EXFOLIATED CELLS

Author Affiliations

Boston

From the Laboratory of the Vincent Memorial Hospital (the Gynecological Service of the Massachusetts General Hospital).

JAMA. 1948;138(7):469-474. doi:10.1001/jama.1948.02900070001001
Abstract

Until the cause or causes of cancer are discovered, the only way cancer can be controlled is by early diagnosis and the consequent eradication of the malignant lesion at its inception. In the majority of cancers early diagnosis is not now possible. How is the physician to suspect, much less perform a biopsy of, a symptomless cancer of the stomach or lung which cannot be visualized? How shall one suspect cancer of the cervix in the presence of a grossly normal organ and before abnormal bleeding? In many parts of the body malignant lesions present for months or even years may be attended by their first clinical symptom only after invasion or metatasis has taken place.

Because of its recognized value and in order to check its misuse we propose to outline the present status of the cytologic method of cancer diagnosis. We believe that in certain regions of the

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