APRIL 8, 1955
NEW YORK—I was sorry I was not in the country when the Cancer Crusade of the American Cancer Society actually began on March 31. I'd have liked to have seen little six-year-old Leroy Curtis of Denver give the Sword of Hope, which is the symbol of the society, to the President.
Leroy was representing the hundreds of thousands of men, women and children who have had cancer and who have been saved. He had the disease at two months old. Now he is six years old and cured.
What a shock his parents must have had when at two months old he was found to have cancer during a routine physical examination! At three months he was operated on and this was followed by X-ray therapy. Now he is well, and his mother, Mrs. Ernest Curtis, who works as a meat cutter in a food market, his father, who is a taxi driver, and his four-year-old brother Steve can all live their lives without the dread of this disease over their heads.
Cancer control is growing, unfortunately, however, more children between the ages of three and 15 still are lost to cancer than from any other disease. The purpose of the crusade, therefore, is to spread information that may save lives and to raise $24,000,000 for research, education and for service to patients.
If things should continue as they are now, about 40,000,000 Americans now living might sooner or later develop cancer. We already know enough so that, through education and service, perhaps half of this number could be saved. But the lives of the rest depend on science and research.
Last year in the United States approximately 230,000 died of cancer while about 75,000 who were threatened by the disease were saved.
Education can help by making certain that every adult has an annual physical examination.
After 45 it is well for men to have a chest X-ray every six months and for women after 35 to have a pelvic examination every six months. Women also should learn the technique of examining their breasts themselves at frequent intervals.
Everyone should know cancer's seven danger signals, which do not mean of necessity that the individual has cancer but any such sign should be a warning and bring about an immediate visit to a doctor. Your doctor will tell you what the things are that you should watch for, and if you have children you will be particularly anxious to watch your children. Last year 4,000 children died of cancer in this country.
If you are alert to the dangers of cancer you will want to support the American Cancer Society, which helps to support more than 1,000 scientists and more than 132 hospitals and laboratories. Competent scientists tried to get from the society this year $8,813,277 for research, but the society could furnish only $5,800,000. Let us try to come up to the needs of the scientists because that measures our determination to win over this dreadful disease.
(Distributed by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)