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Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 25, No. 7. 1962.

Preventative Measures

Preventative Measures

There are four ways of reducing the chance of becoming a cancer victim. They are:—

  • Watch for the danger signs of cancer.
  • Stop smoking — and for women over 30
  • Practice breast palpation
  • Have cervical smears taken
The seven danger signs 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.

If you have one of these symptoms it does not necessarily mean you have cancer. But if your symptom persists in spite of usual remedies, the intelligent course of action is to seek a doctor's advice for it is because cancer so often hides under the symptoms of innocuous complaints that it takes an unnecessarily high toll of life. People are misled by the apparent benignity of their complaint. The way to raise the present cure rate of one in four to the possible one in two is for everyone to appraise their own state of health intelligently. But meanwhile do not worry about your health. The time to start thinking about your health is when you have a persistent symptom. Even then you will probably not have cancer but you cannot afford to take the risk.

The incidence of cancer broadly speaking has been static except for lung cancer in the Western world, where the rate has shown, and is still showing an explosive increase.

Cancer strikes one in four of the population at some time in their lives and the present death rate from the disease is one in six in New Zealand. After heart disease it causes the largest number of deaths. In most cases a death from heart disease can be attributed to the natural decline of physical powers. But not so with cancer, a death from this disease is the result of the growth of an abnormality which by interfering with the body's mechanisms causes death.

Cancer is not peculiar to the human race. It afflicts all forms of life, animals, reptiles, birds, insects, trees, shrubs and plants. Wherever there; is life, there is also cancer. Nor is cancer new. It has existed throughout all time. The Ancient Egyptians recognised it as did the Greeks. There are fossilised bones of dinosaurs in existence which show signs of cancerous growth. Budgerigars, domestic poultry goldfish, mice and dogs are more prone to the disease than rabbits and primates. Certain breeds of dogs, such as retrievers, are very susceptible. Chows and Pekinese on the other hand rarely contract it. Only six per cent, of old horses die of cancer, but eighty per cent of old grey horses develop It. All human races are in total equally susceptible to cancer but there are remarkable differences in the forms of cancer which occur.