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

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Fulham 1931

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Fulham]

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Prior to the development of cancer of these organs
there is usually present for a considerable period a
non-cancerous condition which may be cured by
treatment. The causes of the conditions which are
the forerunners of cancer are known in many cases
and can be prevented. The Ministry strongly advise
the general public to make themselves acquainted with
the causes and early symptoms of cancer so that preventive
measures and effective treatment can be
carried out, and it is pointed out that the stage of a
disease in which advice is sought has a profound
bearing on the ultimate result. Many valuable lives
are lost which could be saved if the public were
acquainted with the causes and early signs of the
In the case of cancer of the lip, tongue and skin
the detection of the disease is comparatively easy as
these organs are accessible, the growth can be seen
and there are often warning signs before the cancer
has actually developed.
Cancer of these organs is commoner in men than
in women and this is especially true in the case of
cancer of the lip and tongue. The average age at
which patients seek advice is between 55 and 60; the
disease may, however, occur earlier in life and frequently
occurs at later age periods.
Cancer of the Lip. The commonest position is to
the right or left of the middle of the lower lip and the
condition is not nearly so common at the angles of the
mouth. Cancer of the lip usually starts as an ulcer
or a wart on the red margin of the lip which is hard
to the touch. It may start as a small crack or patch
on the lip which gets covered with a scab. Later on
the glands beneath the jaw and in the neck are affected
so that they become enlarged and may break down,
forming ulcers. The condition becomes painful and
the patient looks ill, but this is not the case in the
early stages.

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