London's Pulse: Medical Officer of Health reports 1848-1972

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Woolwich 1909

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Woolwich]

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Comparing 1909 with 1903, there has been an increase of
12 deaths in both males and females, or 24 deaths in all. In
males the most notable increase is in cancer of the stomach
and pylorus, and in females, cancer of the stomach, pylorus,
intestines, and rectum. Whether this increase is real, or due
to improved diagnosis, it is impossible to say.
On the other hand, there has been a marked decrease of
cancer in the female genital organs, comparing the two years
1903.4 with 1908.9. There is also a decrease of cancer in the
female breasts. This decrease may possibly be the result of
more early detection of, and operation on, the disease, owing
to the advancement of surgery. These latter diseases are more
easily diagnosed than those of the stomach and intestines, and
the fact that the former appear to have decreased, and the
latter increased, strengthens the opinion that the supposed
increase of cancer is largely due to improved diagnosis.
It is seen from the two tables that cancer affects the mouth,
tongue, pharynx, cesophagus, and larynx of men, much more
than similar organs of females, and to a small extent men have
more cancer of the stomach than women. Cancer of the
rectum, however, is more frequent in women.
91. There were four deaths from Alcoholism, and 16 from
Cirrhosis of the Liver, making a total of 20 deaths probably
due to alcohol, compared with 27, 24, 17,18, and 21, in the five
preceding years. In addition to these there were 335 deaths
from diseases of the brain and nervous system (excluding
meningitis), heart, blood vessels, and kidneys, of which a large
proportion was certainly caused directly or indirectly by alcohol.
The deaths from these causes in the five preceding years were
335, 336, 347, 327, and 346, respectively.

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