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67. Will ultraviolet or infrared rays kill cancer cells?
No. These agents have no curative effect on cancer cells even at high intensity over long periods of time.
68. Will hormones cure cancer?
This problem is still under investigation. There is a great deal of evidence to indicate that treatment by certain hormones may prolong life, and alleviate pain and suffering in certain breast cancers in the female and prostate cancers in the male. It is too early to state whether these hormones will cure cancer. 69. Will isotopes cure cancer?
So far, isotopes have proved of limited value in the treatment of cancer. However, a small percentage of thyroid cancers respond remarkably well to radioactive iodine and certain cancers of the blood and blood-forming organs are quite favorably affected by radioactive phosphorous.
70. Are the results of cancer studies on animals applicable to human beings?
Experiments with animals are essential to test many theories concerning cancer. The nature of cancer in animals and man is so similar that principles discovered in one will undoubtedly prove to be of value in understanding the problem in the other. However, animal experiments always require careful checking to prove their relevance to cancer in human beings.
71. What is the latest and most successful of the recently reported cancer treatments?
While many cures are constantly being evaluated by many laboratories over the country, surgery, X-ray treatments, and radium remain the chief weapons of the physicians' fight to cure cancer. Certain hormones and isotopes offer some promise of assistance in their fight but it is much too early to call these in any form cures.
72. Is any real progress being made in cancer research? Along what lines?
Real progress is being made in cancer research which has thrown much new light on the normal and abnormal growth processes. However, the goal of finding the cause of cancer and thus its prevention is still in the future. Avenues of investigation have recently opened up on all sides: in chemistry by a study of the hormones and the complex role they play; in physics by application of radioactive materials and the development of X-rays at higher voltages; in surgery by more radical excision of tumors; and in the studies of enzymes, genetics, nutrition, cytochemistry, etc. Scientific disciplines of all types have been brought to the front in an all-out attack.
6. CANCER IN MEN
73. Are cancers in men and women different?
There are no fundamental differences in cancers appearing in men and women. 74. What forms of cancer are more common among men than women?
Cancer of the buccal cavity, pharynx, esophagus, stomach, rectum, larynx, bronchus, lung, kidney, bladder, skin, and brain are all more common in men than in women. Men alone, of course, have cancer of the prostate and male genital organs.
75. Does smoking cause cancer?
The relation of smoking to cancer of the mouth and lungs is uncertain. Therefore, it is best to play it safe and, if you smoke, to use tobacco in moderation. 76. Can cancer result from sexual intercourse?
No. There is no known relation between cancer and sexual activity on the part of the male or female.
77. Is cancer of the prostate common? At what age does it generally occur?
Yes; cancer of the prostate is one of the most common forms of cancer in elder men. Men should be on guard against this form of cancer especially as they approach 60. A thorough physical examination, including a rectal examination, is the only way to discover this hidden cancer early enough for cure.
7. CANCER IN WOMEN
78. Do more women than men die of cancer?
Almost as many men die of cancer every year as women. In the United States, 88,801 men as compared with 93,204 women died of cancer in 1946. Three factors combine to account for this difference: (1) There are a few more women than men in the population; (2) the female population is somewhat older on the average than the male population; and (3) the incidence of cancer is higher among females than males due primarily to the high incidence of cancer of the breast and female generative organs.
79. Does cancer occur more frequently among married or unmarried women? Reports from death certificates show that above the age of 40, the cancer death rate is higher among single women than among married women of the same ages. Single women have higher death rates from cancer of the breast and married women have more cancer of the uterus. Many physicians believe that nursing a child reduces the chances of cancer of the breast and that injury at childbirth increases the risk of cancer of the uterus if proper medical attention is not received.
80. Is there danger in watching a lump in the breast to "see what happens"?
Yes; a very grave danger. Time is the most important factor in the control of cancer and waiting to "see what happens" may permit a curable cancer to become incurable by spreading to other tissues.
81. Are all breast lumps cancerous?
Not more than a small percentage are cancer. Only by a careful pathological examination of the removed lump can it be definitely determined if it is cancer. 82. What precautions should be taken to avoid cancer of the breast?
Do not wear garments that press the breast tissue tightly against the chest wall. Every woman should have her breasts examined semiannually by a physician. She should request her physician to instruct her in the proper technique for examining her own breasts in the erect and reclining positions and should examine her breasts once a month shortly after her period.
83. What precautions should be taken to avoid cancer of the uterus (womb)? Have all birth injuries repaired within 6 months after they occur. Have all unnatural vaginal discharges investigated. Up to the age of 35 have an annual examination; thereafter a semiannual one. Bleeding after the change of life calls for a physician's examination at once.
84. Do uterine fibroids ever become cancerous?
8. CANCER IN CHILDREN
85. Can cancer develop in children? At what age?
No age is free from cancer. Certain forms of cancer are most often found in young children.
86. If a parent dies of cancer, are the children more likely to have the disease? Practically, no. In many families where a parent has had cancer, the disease has not appeared in the children. Again, a person in whose family there is no record of cancer may develop it.
87. Once it has gotten a start, does cancer develop more quickly in children than in older people?
Probably not. The rate of growth at any age depends upon the type of cancer. 88. If detected in time, can cancer in a child be cured more quickly than in an adult?
The cure of cancer has little relation to age. It depends upon the extent of its growth at the time it is detected, and the adequacy of the treatment as well as the type of cancer.
89. Is cancer increasing?
9. CANCER'S VITAL STATISTICS
The number of annual cancer deaths in the United States has increased from 41,000 in 1900 to 189,811 in 1947. The major reason is the growing number of
older people in the population coupled with the fact that the cancer death rate (the number of deaths per 100,000 of the population) rises very rapidly with age. Improved diagnosis and better reporting of deaths are other factors that help explain the increase. The cancer death rate has increased from 64 per 100,000 in 1900 to 132.4 per 100,000 in 1947, partly due to the aging of the population. Cancer death rates within specific age groups in men have tended to rise, but in recent years some of the rates for females within certain age groups have decreased.
90. How does cancer compare with other diseases as a cause of death?
It occupies second place, as seen from the following table of deaths from leading causes in the United States in 1947:
Pneumonia and influenza.
91. At what age do cancer deaths occur most frequently?
The age distribution of cancer deaths in the United States in 1946 is shown herewith:
By four means: (1) Early diagnosis, the responsibility of the patient in having himself regularly checked by his physician and the responsibility of the physician in recognizing the possibility of cancer and prompt referral for further diagnostic procedures and proper treatment; (2) adequate and prompt treatment, the responsibility of the physician who treats his patient for cancer; (3) discoveries of newer and more effective means of treatment; and (4) the ultimate discovery of the cause of cancer. These last two must come from the research laboratories and the clinical investigator.
From these stem the basic principles of the cancer control program of education, research, and service of the American Cancer Society, the health agencies of the Federal and State governments and private philanthropies.
10. CANCER AND YOU
93. Is there any disgrace in having cancer?
No. There is no more disgrace in having cancer than in having a broken arm. 94. How can I go about locating the cancer-detection center nearest my home! By inquiring from your family physician, the local unit of the American Cancer Society, or from your city or county health department.
95. Where can I get the names of specialists qualified to treat particular kinds of cancer?
Your family doctor may refer you to a cancer clinic at your local hospital or to a specific physician with the best experience in treating your type of case. The local unit of the American Cancer Society will be glad to be of service.
96. Can I get proper cancer treatment in my small local hospital or must I go to a large city?
This depends entirely upon the type of cancer you have, the adequacy of facilities for treatment in your area, and the experience of the physicians there. Each patient is a separate problem and must be treated individually.
97. How can I find the nearest hospital equipped to diagnose and treat cancer? Your family doctor, your local unit of the American Cancer Society, your county medical society, or your county or city health department will be glad to refer you.
98. Can a physician examine a patient thoroughly for cancer in his office or is it necessary to go to a hospital?
An office examination should be sufficient unless, by questioning or from his findings in his office, your doctor feels you should go to the hospital for a more complete examination, such as by X-ray and blood tests.
99. Does cancer usually cost more to cure than other diseases?
It often does. Here, again, it depends upon the type of cancer you have and how much must be done to treat it.
100. Why are quacks dangerous?
For the following reasons, among others:
1. Few quacks are medically trained; therefore, they have no fundamental knowledge about cancer.
2. They cause the patient to lose valuable time that should be used in getting proper treatment.
3. The pastes and "medicines" used by quacks have no value in curing cancer. 4. The quack takes the patient's money under false pretenses thus depriving him of means for obtaining competent treatment elsewhere.
101. How can I tell a quack from a reputable physician?
If a person advertises a cure, guarantees a cure, or employs a method of diagnosis or treatment not generally accepted or endorsed by the medical profession, he may be classed as a quack. No reputable, ethical physician will do any of these things.
THE BEST DEFENSE AGAINST CANCER
The best defense against cancer lies in everyone having periodic thorough physical examinations. Women over 35 should be examined twice a year. Other people should be examined at least once a year. In addition, for protection between examinations, everyone should know the seven danger signals which may mean cancer and go at once to a doctor upon the first appearance of any one of them.
The seven danger signals of cancer are:
1. Any sore that does not heal.
2. A lump or thickening, in the breast or elsewhere.
3. Unusual bleeding or discharge.
4. Any change in a wart or mole.
5. Persistent indigestion or difficulty in swallowing.
6. Persistent hoarseness or cough.
7. Any change in normal bowel habits.
For further information consult your doctor, your city or county health department, or your local or State office of the American Cancer Society.
(Thereupon, at 5 p. m., the committee adourned to meet again at 10 a. m., Saturday, October 3, 1953.)