This episode is from the WNYC archives. It may contain language which is no longer politically or socially appropriate.
Irita Van Doren introduces Dr. Charles Cameron (though she identifies him as George), noting that he is the his book is the first medical text to be included as a Books and Authors Luncheon selection. She also notes that his work in cancer is of particular interest and goes into detail about Dr. Cameron's training and distinguished career. Van Doren also reminds us that we must work with our physician to spot the first signs of cancer.
Dr. Cameron speaks on the topic of his first book, "The Truth About Cancer." He speaks at length about the state of cancer treatment in medicine today. He gives some shocking statistics, such as 1 in 3 babies born in that year, 1956, will be impacted by cancer.
Next, Van Doren introduces Nile Ivanovna Magidoff, a Russian national and former political prisoner in Siberia, Magidoff is a performer and instructor. She speaks at length about "becoming an American."
Finally, Van Doren introduces Edwin O'Conner, author of "The Last Hurrah." O'Conner discusses his view that people read books to find characters they can identify with.
Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection
WNYC archives id: 71265
Municipal archives id: LT7221
This is a machine-generated transcript. Text is unformatted and may contain errors.
First Speaker today in introducing him I'd like to point out that we have never before had a medical. Subject on this program we do so today first because cancer has become a matter of increasing concern to all of us secondly because of our complete confidence in. Who is going to speak to us today and. Because the book he has written though it embodies the latest scientific knowledge about cancer is never written for the medical profession but for you and me Dr Cameron has earned our confident my lifelong intelligent devotion to the finding and revealing of truth about cancer after four years on a Rockefeller fellowship in post graduate cancer surgery at New York Memorial Hospital and four years in the Navy where he served in the treatment of cancer among Navy personnel he has carried on the fight against this dread disease in every possible way. During the past nine years he has been medical and scientific director of the American Cancer Society and in this capacity he has greatly broadened and extended the nature of the attack on count. Research he regards as of primary importance and the society supports it financially and by direct in the training of young scientists he has emphasized the role of the family physician in cancer control since he is the person most to spot early signs of the disease to help him great stress has been laid on a program of professional education. Training films for doctors on the diagnosis of cancer have been made libraries of motion picture films have been established clinical monographs by prominent offers by prominent authorities have been distributed to own practicing physicians hospital residents and fourth year medical students who desire. American journal Cancer subscribe to by six thousand five hundred doctors is issued. A monthly bulletin the progress goes to seventy five thousand doctors hundred twenty fellowships for one week training in cancer diagnosis and treatment are given by the society each year a program of fellowships in radiation therapy has recently been instituted. The society has built up a statistical research section and a medical library which has assembled the most complete file of information on cancer in the world and several annual regional and national professional meetings have been agonizing to impress an awareness of cancer on medical experts. Only steps toward the general education of the profession Dr Cameron has directed and promoted while lecturing widely to arouse general public interest and serving as clinical assistant surgeon at Memorial Hospital somehow he has found time to write this book The Truth about cancer to help educate the public. And in any other disease he points out early diagnosis is important and we share with our physician the responsibility to detect the first subtle signs of trouble this book is addressed to you and me in tears we can fail to understand. It tells us what is actually known about cancer today it dispels needless fear it gives us the latest medical findings about different types of cancer and tells us how to recognize the symptoms it runs against quacks and the cruel folks promised us it tells us truthfully what our chances of being cured or helped if we develop cancer and it emphasizes that neglect through ignorance and fear too often produces the results we dread. It is not sensational It is of absorbing interest it is medically true to read it is to help us protect ourselves and I'm glad to be able to introduce to you a man who has given the best part of his life to promoting the health and happiness of his fellow human being and I profoundly appreciate the effort he is made to be here today Dr George came. To a. Factory Mrs Van done. Ladies and gentlemen. The truth about cancer is my first book and this is therefore the first opportunity I have had to speak to a book and office luncheon. Everyone seems to have been very casual about preparing me for this and I have not been able to get any very helpful advice as to what I should talk about. I imagine the authors of not all just being a literary and cultured folk have the license to talk about anything and off. I'm afraid I can only talk about cancer and I do very much. Prize the distinction of being the first doctor of medicine to appear. At this ranch and. I think it is a tribute to the discrimination. Of whoever arranges this program. Because this is important and it is of specific importance to about three hundred people who are in this room. If I have any distinction. Among this distinguished group of speakers today. Is that my book took longer to write the news did. I have been at it I should think about six years off and on Mr Reed might correct me but he would certainly agree with the reviewer in the Los Angeles Times who in the course of his remarks said This book should have been published five years ago. In the small New Hampshire village but it has been my privilege to spend part of many summers I've got to know a good many of the natives there aren't many there. Burgeoned white and Harry Eldridge among them. Their land isn't very good and they've had to eke out their livings with odd jobs but over the years some. Pitch pine has grown up on their properties and last fall the New England box company came in and made Virgil an offer when these two gentlemen met next in the town of center ice a penny on Saturday night following the timbering and he said What do you get for your wood. Just said Ray it's none of your business and if we hadn't been friends and neighbors for thirty years I wouldn't tell you that much. I think there is some great shoe in austerity of this order in human communication and I think few of you would prove it is a pattern for human behavior in general but I think that many of you would agree with me that our total freedom of expression of ideas to do together with the improvement in the technology of communication I have created problems which are personal and because they affect all of us they are social and the problem is what is important I have that to say to you today. This volume of audio and visual stimuli are pure entertainment news but vice pertaining to peace of mind entire blood political persuasion personal philosophy religion instruction himself betterment and charitable appeals all compete for popular attention and the result is that modern man stands like the fabled Sorcerer's Apprentice literally deluged with fact half fact fakery the important and the trifling and with no time to think about it are less T.V. missed the next new impulse I know social scientist and I have no solution for this problem but since I am concerned with cancer I will venture a few remarks about why cancer is important first of all the impact of the sheer statistics of this disease. The latest figures from the National Cancer Institute indicate that one in every three babies born in this year one nine hundred fifty six will encounter cancer personally not in his family and not among his friends in South. We have today about two hundred and forty thousand deaths each year from this disease and they are increasing their creasing for a rather benign reason they're increasing because typhoid fever has become a disgrace in any community because tuberculosis the great white plague of my parents' screen years is now one thousand the list of causes of death and going down fast because pneumonia called captain of the men of death so recently as my medical school days and that wasn't so very long ago really want to know. Taking the life of one in every three of them it affected now has a mortality of less than eight percent of people under being longer two years when there isn't much left to die from except cancer and heart disease I think there is time for me to amuse you by reminding you of a poem which Helen Bevington wrote not long ago a progress report to Horace Walpole who about one hundred fifty years ago said about the time I die or a little bit later the secret will be found how men may live forever miss Babington and said Horace be comforted to die one century has meandered by and half the next since it was true the temporal state you looted you. Now as I read your pensive letter I wish myself the times were that her and I might post how men contrive as you foretold to stay alive by now we should possess the key to fleshly immortality and if we want to do and ever to live for ever and for ever this to my infinite regret is not a custom with us yet. I write to Horace for good cheer life is about as usual here. But she was an indulgent in poetic license because life is not about as usual a baby born in Horace's day could look forward to about thirty five years of living life expectancy for men in the United States now sixty eight years and that for the weaker sex is seventy one. This is the major reason why we have more cancer because we are living into the ages when cancer is frequent. Now these figures that I have given you would have very little meaning if it weren't that we can do a great deal of the above and that in essence is why I wrote the book first of all and no other health problem facing us. Now with a health problem regardless of its proportions. Can dividends be realized to the extent they can in this problem of cancer think of a cancer of the breast is curable in seventy five percent of the cases when the disease is treated while it's limited to the breast and yet Countrywide all comers included the early in the late we're curing about a third of all priced cancer cancer of the cervix which takes the lives of more women than any other kind of cancer cure about an eighty percent of the cases when it's treated by the disease is limited to the neck of the womb and yet we're hearing about what her up all cancer of the cervix cancer of the larynx curable in eighty five percent of the cases treated while the disease is confined to one vocal cord we're hearing about fifteen percent of all cancer of the larynx and this disparity between what can be done under optimal conditions of early diagnosis localized disease expert treatment and what we are actually accomplishing. Extends through most of the kinds of cancer and in the aggregate it involves the needless death of eighty thousand people a year that's why this disease is important it's important because time is of such critical importance in determining the outcome you know what the disease of such mortal consequences is time so important you know the disease all the early signs and symptoms more trivial less impelling things which you and I have had from time to time and have safely ignored and yet which are the early signs of cancer course most which we attribute to too much smoking or drinking the coffee which is a hangover from that code the lump in the breast which usually is not cancer indigestion which we treat with medicine cabinet remedies these are signs of cancer in no other disease does the patient himself bear so large a burden of responsibility thing in directing the course toward cure or to death because it is the patient and only the patient who receives these early signs and who interprets them as being important or as of no moment a few more facts about this you know hospital the average woman with cancer of the breast when we see her first has a tumor the size of a ping pong ball this is not early and your story is usually I just found it and she usually says as I was taking a back. The book tries to persuade women to examine their breasts because if these women with tumors of this size had examined their breasts six months before are they would have found the tumor when it is this break. The average man with cancer of the larynx his horse for four months before he decides he'd better have a doctor look inside the average woman with cancer of the uterus temporize is and tries to explain away irregular bad you know bleeding for ten months before she has it investigated and the average person with cancer of the standing treats himself with bicep Darley and whatnot for fifteen months before consulting the doctor this is what we're trying to do away this culpable. As I said it offers the prospect of saving a few thousand lives a year and I repeat I don't know anything in the field of health which offers a dividend of this magnitude this is not. I imagine a book that people. Are rushing to buy. But I want to say this about there's been a good deal of talk lately about cancer a phobia the national fear of cancer which is as serious it is. By sun as cancer it's. Not it's just psychiatry friends tell us that abnormal fears about anything are not induced by reading a book or a pamphlet darn listening to a speech or seeing a motion picture they lie deep down in people and they are expressions of psychological needs to fear something and the person a little fear what comes ready yes but if it isn't cancer it will be a sign of heart disease or the atom bomb the story of the book is that this is a matter of personal responsibility it's something you can't relegate to a government bureau. It's something that you can't hope it will be taken care of by your local sanitation experts and you can't even depend on the latest magic lamp you're all in the doctor's black bag this one is on ice reminds me of John dime statement no man is an island entire of itself every man is a piece of the continent a part of the man if a cloud to be washed away Europe is the last as much as they are promising Tory where any man's death diminishes me for I am a man. And therefore never send an old farm the bell tolls it tolls for thee. An IT Anile. I think the whole of the next week I need a lot. Done I arrived in Louisville during the war to lecture from Laura Lee she was to be a guest of the Etheridge is for ten days but a few hours after that first meeting with Mrs ETHERIDGE I already knew Etheridge is our good people it was the beginning of a beautiful friendship. With rich the wife of a market for it was the distinguished publisher of the liberal Korea Journal and times you probably know through how wife's I view his diplomatic missions to Israel Greece and taking in three books going to Jerusalem it's Greek to me and let's take. A quick wit and him it was not for a letter she came to love that she should want to tell her story for it's a fabulous story. Born in a small peasant in Russia. But. She was in the. Prison she arrested. And with her brother and sister. She. One hundred percent successful. She was arrested. And sent to Siberia. Out of the way. She like she found comfortable good. Shopping. In prison. She played. A newspaper reporter. She. Was constantly. The big change in her life. And the incredible. And after a long. Time. In exchange for. She came to America. And America has been. Even before. She began. She spoke. At Rotary. College. In forty seven states. There were times w