Control of Cancer

May 12, 1951

Report Outline
Facing the Facts About Cancer
Search for New Weapons Against Cancer
Extension of Cancer Control Activities

Facing the Facts About Cancer

Change in Public Attitude Toward Cancer

Recognition by the American public that it must face the facts about cancer is shown by voluntary contributions of more than $13 million to support the work of the American Cancer Society in 1951 and the ready approval by an economy-minded House of Representatives of a grant of $19.5 million for work of the National Cancer Institute during the fiscal year 1952.

The present wide discussion of cancer as a national health problem represents a significant change in the attitude of the public toward the disease. Hardly more than a decade ago, the word “cancer” was seldom used in social conversation, at least in connection with individual cases. Relatives of cancer victims begged doctors not to note it on death certificates. Today newspapers devote much space to reports of scientific advances toward conquest of the disease, and cancer is often given as the cause of death in obituary columns. Cancer patients who have been successfully treated are forming Cured Cancer Clubs to encourage others who face treatment.

Part of the former reluctance to deal frankly with cancer resulted from a general belief that the disease could end only in death after long and torturing illness. It is now known that physicians are saving at least a third of their cancer patients, and that another third of those who now die of cancer could be saved if the disease were found early and treated promptly. Even where treatment is begun too late to save life, new drugs and other therapy can be used to control pain and postpone death for considerable periods.

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May 12, 1951  Control of Cancer
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