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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18
Cancer may start in a mole in the skin especially
if irritated by a razor while shaving.
The American Society for the Control of Cancer
give the following advice: "the treatment of moles
by 'beauty doctors' or by the use of electricity or
caustics—methods which do not assure the complete
removal of the deeper parts of the mole—are responsible
for some epitheliomas (cancers of the skin). In
these cases traces of the original mole are left behind
and become subject to constant irritation from the
pull of the scar that is produced by treatment. A
brown or black mole should be left alone so long as it
shows no signs of growth or, if it is so defacing that
its removal is desired for cosmetic reasons, it should
be treated by a surgeon." The treatment generally
adopted is cutting it out.
Cancer of the skin is painless and the patient may
pay little attention to it for this reason. The commonest
type generally starts as a pimple or flat topped
nodule in the skin with a little redness around it.
Later on it ulcerates and scabs and the edge of the
ulcer is hard. Cancer of the skin has not the same
tendency to affect the glands as cancer of other parts
of the body and if treated early there is a good prospect
of complete cure.
The treatment consists of surgical operation or
treatment by radium or X-rays.
In conclusion the same general principles hold
good as in the case of cancer of other organs, and
indeed of all diseases, namely, that prevention is
better than cure and if prevention cannot be obtained
the earlier the treatment the greater the chance of
cure.
Infantile Mortality.
Of 1,857 deaths of persons of all ages belonging
to Fulham, during 1931, 154 or 8.3 per cent. occurred
in infants under One Year of age.


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