The Path to Public Service at SEAS
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"Eighty-five per cent of cancer can be cured," stated Clarence C. Little '10, Head of the American Society for Prevention of Cancer and former President of the Universities of Maine and Michigan, and Secretary of the Harvard Corporation in 1910-12, "if it is caught in its early stages.
"Last year in the United States there were 140,000 deaths attributed to the disease, and at least, half of these could have been prevented if the cases had realized that they had cancer in the beginning. This is the second largest source of death in the country--the largest being the combination of all the various diseases of the heart.
"In its early," stages," Dr. Little continued, "there is absolutely no pain connected with cancer. It is merely the rapid growth of certain tissues far in excess of the surrounding ones. The thing to watch out for is the sudden enlarging or change in consistency of a mole or lump under the skin that one may have had since childhood. When this happens, competent medical examination should be made to determine whether cancerous tissue is involved in the change.
"Dark complexioned people are much more susceptible to cancer than those who have light pigmented skins," he said, although just what the reason for this is, the former president of Maine did not say.
"It's a shame," he continued, "that it is so hard to get money for the study of cancer. Infantile paralysis kills less than 10,000 people annually, and yet, with the aid of such affairs as President's Birthday Balls, they get 20 times as much money as we do. If we had as good an organization as the Tuberculosis Association's we would be able to accomplish undreamed of results.
"I have been raising mice for experimentation since my Sophomore year in Harvard. Having started with some 15 or 20, I now have more than 30,000 of them at Bar Harbor, and, as they are all from the same pure stock, much more accurate prognostications can be made concerning cancer than was formerly the case.
"We use mice for experimentation," Dr. Little went on, "because in one year they reach the cancer peak equivalent to that of a 40-year-old human. It takes a rabbit six years, and a horse 15 to reach the same stage in their development."
In conclusion, Dr. Little strayed off his favorite subject onto that topic which is near the heart of every educator in New England--the Teacher's Oath Bill.
"I am not in favor of the oath, for it is a stupid way of getting loyalty. The regimentation and discipline is further evidence of the increasing catholicism of state affairs. The results will be that teachers will be more careful of their liberties and will separate into distinct groups for and against the state.
"I do feel, however, that the outcome of this unhappy bit of legislation will be for the best. People will react just as they did to the Oppression Bills of the Revolution, and will throw off the yoke of tyranny.
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