Sunday, September 6, 2015

The fight against cancer

The fight against cancer
The Danish film 'The fight against cancer. " Still delayed diagnosis but, today, few people can refer to the lack of the concept 'cancer' to suspect the disease. However, 70 years ago the taboo surrounding the cancer and the silence was the common standard. As told in the excellent book The Emperor of all evil -carried screen now available online and through public television estadounidense-, the first modern researchers against the disease, when there was not even chemotherapy-were soon the need for knowledge about the disease was widespread.

The aim was twofold: first, to generate knowledge about the disease and encourage early diagnosis and, secondly, to raise awareness of governments and other entities to finance the very expensive cancer research, which has led to cure rates multiply cancer.

Soon it was discovered that the film was an ideal to reach thousands of people and the shorts this subject multiplied format. The common tone spread fear to raise awareness about the disease. Some historians as the American Keith Wailoo, have suggested that, somehow, the audiovisual fight against cancer in those years liken to that made against communism, encourage talking and "denounce" a real taboo.

In 1947 the National Cancer Association hired Denmark (with permission of Lars Von Trier) best Danish film director in history, Carl Theodor Dreyer, to run a mini-documentary with a title that left no doubt: Fighting cancer. The piece, 12 minutes long, begins with a bell ringing dead, while a voiceover asks, "For Whom the Bell Tolls?" and, after focusing on an obituary of a woman of 32, he replied: "For someone who waited too long".

Then, the video tells the story of a patient who presents with a lump the doctor, who recommends extirpárselo for further analysis, as it would today. It struck by the optimism expressed by the doctor about the chances of cure, yet even when chemotherapy was used. "I can assure you, even cancer can be cured completely. The sooner you start, the more likely," he blurts out the doctor.

From there, it's all excuses by the woman does not hurt, has a planned trip with her husband, her birthday ... She abandons the query, and the camera focuses so. "I hope too," listening to the doctor in the next scene. "Why are people so careless? If you know it's a matter of life and death," he says before an attentive nurse.

The rest of the documentary tells two opposing stories, with the same health problem. A man with an ulcer on the lip is successfully treated with oral cancer in its early stage. After praising the wisdom of the patient to accept their advice, the physician provides the nurse (and hence, the viewer) photographs of this type of tumor in different stages. The third story is also positive. A woman is discovered a tumor in the cervix -in a time when no screening was done with citologĂ­as- and was removed. After explaining the different stages of this cancer and cure rates, the patient leaves the hospital, with lively music and a view of an idyllic medical center where nobody suffers and everyone is in the garden.

Although none of the three stories this treatment is used, the document concludes by pointing out the existence of radiation therapy services, then little known. "If you notice anything unusual, see your doctor, who will refer you to the radiologist," he concludes the video. Oncology as a specialty, in those years, was far from being.

Middle alert
The fight against cancer is probably the only piece directed by an author as prestigious as Dreyer, but not the only one, in those dark years more, tried to alert about the danger of cancer.

The Encyclopedia Britannica 1950 documentary produced in Cancer, a work of just 11 minutes long it shares with Dreyer's initial alert tone, fear and distress. This time, he is a young man who goes to his doctor later, after months of stomach pain. After recalling all the times I suspected that something might be going wrong-and even conversations with friends who appointed him the possibility of suffering the sickness is facing an uncertain future. The music, the lights, no uncertain terms that the patient had to be visited to your doctor.

Although the story ends well, and the tumor in the stomach is found to have successfully removed by the doctor protagonist, the film used to spread a message also present in other: the seven signs of cancer. These rules in place yet, some are:

A sore that will not heal with the passage of time
Lumpiness
Abnormal bleeding
Changes in the shape or size of a mole
Indigestion or difficulty swallowing
Persistent cough
Change in bowel habits

With a resounding "will conquer cancer" 65 years after something that has not yet achieved the all-it ends this documentary. Somewhat longer, the documentary Time is life (1949) is this time produced by the American Cancer Society, one of the entities that contributed most to the funding of research against disease, especially by public bodies US.

The play tells the story of Mary Bronson, since a breast lump is noticeable until, after many doubts and fears, go to the association, which derives from your doctor. After a biopsy, but no cancer was conscious protagonist. The film ends with Mary Bronson fully involved as a volunteer in the fight against cancer, serving healthy and distressed terminal patients.

Draws particular attention almost seven decades after the questions the protagonist did and that today can be considered overcome. Thus, concepts like cancer is contagious or is due to some erroneous behavior are not now common currency. Then, when the disease was so unknown and stigmatizing, yes.

A decade later, but very pioneer in its field, is the documentary The time squeeze the trigger. The reason: in an era when doctors announced yet snuff, dares to denounce the carcinogenic effects thereof. As usual in these films, it is customized again in a fictitious case. In this case, a soldier who dies from lung cancer. In an early scene, its top delivers her sister's personal effects of the deceased soldier: a pack of snuff stands out above all others.

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