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July 14, 1956

The Truth About Cancer

JAMA. 1956;161(11):1114. doi:10.1001/jama.1956.02970110080028

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There is an ancient maxim that what the mind does not know, the heart does not grieve about. This is often coupled with the saying that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. The public, unfortunately, is highly mindful of popular information concerning disease, if not positively morbid on the subject. Every subway train and commuter bus carries a fair proportion of moderately expert consultants on every form of human ailment. The work under review should certainly, if thoroughly read and digested, decrease the amount of ignorance on the part of many of these well-meaning consultants, but it may also increase the amount of apprehension of all citizens over the age of 45. Man is mortal. If cancer were eliminated tomorrow as a cause of death, man would still have to die of such other causes as cerebral softening, arteriosclerosis, or heart disease. It is desirable that cancer be prevented

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