Historical Event

Dr. Smith had never encountered cancer in the natives before 1936

Document Title:

Mrs. Marguerite Smith Letter


Miss Keaton advised us to get in touch with the widow of Dr. Smith, a trained nurse, to check her [Miss Keaton's] report on Dr. Smith's views. Mrs. Marguerite Smith answered on July 19, 1957, from 803 Fourth Avenue, Puyallup, Washington:

“It has long been my wish that Dr. Smith's observations concerning the incidence of cancer ... be made known ... I was with him after 1936, and many times he remarked that he had never encountered cancer among the natives (Eskimos) prior to that time. During the time I was in Kotzebue, 1936-41, we had only two malignancies, one in 1938, the second I believe in 1940 ... Both patients were in their late fifties ...

“Since leaving the hospital, I personally know of two women in their thirties who have died from cancer of the cervix ... Both had acquired the white man's way of living. During the time I was there I believe there were on the average one or two cases of non-native cancer pet year ...”


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