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April 25, 1977

Medical News

JAMA. 1977;237(17):1817-1823. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03270440007001

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Various ways in which individuals can help detect cancers early  Americans apparently are becoming less self-conscious about examining their own bodies.Many oncologists view self-examination as a first line of defense against certain kinds of cancer. A number of professional organizations and health agencies say they are encouraged by what seems to be increasing public attention to and acceptance of this "self-surveillance."At the same time, other health officials believe that self-examination may offer part of the answer to what is termed "cancerphobia." That is the fear of cancer that some people suggest is becoming a serious social problem among Americans.W. Lyle Brewer, PhD, public education chairman for the American Cancer Society (ACS), contends that the challenge is to overcome such "negatives" as embarrassment, ignorance, apathy, or fearfulness without raising the public level of anxiety.Once the individual is persuaded to keep watch over his own body, Dr