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September 16, 1974

The Cancer Syndrome

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Therapeutic Radiology, Strong Memorial Hospital, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, New York.

JAMA. 1974;229(12):1651-1652. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230500067038

THE TERM syndrome is applied to a constellation of features that result in a recognizable pathologic and clinical symptom complex. It is an association of characteristics that often alert the physician that certain disparate physical findings or complaints may not be chance events. Furthermore, seemingly remote pathophysiologic occurrences may offer a clue about the pathogenesis of the neoplastic state. The increasing awareness of syndromes in cancer patients has allowed for new diagnostic and investigative pathways. The debilitation of a cancer patient may not be related to the invasion of normal and vital organs by the neoplasm, but to the tumor's capability to create or be causally related to certain distant functional aberrations. The patterns of production of such features are distinctive and should be known in their relationship to alimentary-tract growth.

Most syndromes described in medicine are related to genetic factors, and are recognizable mainly through identifiable hereditary transmission patterns.