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March 31, 1962

Physician Poll on Cancer Prevention: Opinions and Reactions of Over 1,400 Doctors

Author Affiliations

Madison, Wis.

Assistant Professor, Department of Surgery, Tumor Clinic, University of Wisconsin Medical Center, and Medical Director, Wisconsin Division of the American Cancer Society.

JAMA. 1962;179(13):1001-1004. doi:10.1001/jama.1962.03050130005002

Over 1,400 physicians, mostly practicing doctors in Wisconsin, have been asked their opinions about 40 possible measures to prevent cancer. The resultant list of cancer preventatives, in order of the highest acceptance, is presented here. The majority of the doctors agreed on the first 10 and the last 10 measures. Clinical preventive measures, such as surgery on polyps, nodules, and premalignant lesions, received the highest acceptance. Laboratory or experimental discoveries relative to carcinogenesis were rated lower. The latter group includes studies on air pollution, food additives, industrial carcinogens, and tobacco. Certain other measures, such as circumcision, protection from sunlight, and avoiding or treating vigorously any avitaminoses, were less acceptable. The poll indicates the belief that some cancer is preventible, but there is much to be done in educating the professions on presently available means, as well as in exploring the many other possibilities.