Thank you for your letter of June 28. Possibly the prime purpose of the Cancer Detection Center is not clear to you. The aim
as this clinic was set up in 1947 and has been all along is to identify and suggest treatment for specific patients with
cancers of certain types before they have become symptomatic. Data from the
National Cancer Institute indicate that cancers of the colon, rectum, cervix, prostate, breast, and skin, grouped together,
treated in the best of hands after appearance of symptoms have a cure rate of no better than 50%, while those found before
they have become symptomatic have proven to have a cure rate in the neighborhood of 85%.
We operate the Cancer Detection Center as a public service and by no means does the Center break even in terms of cost. It
is the conviction in the Department of Surgery that the importance of this activity lies in the life-saving service it renders
to those who attend, to the esteem it generates for the medical profession, and to the opportunity the Center provides to
facilitate the work of the practicing members of the profession, to whom we refer patients back, caring for them here only
upon specific requests from the patients themselves.
We believe most practitioners are too busy to do routine screening for asymptomatic malignancies and appreciate the activities
of units such as the Cancer Detection Center, the purpose of which is specifically to find such early lesions and to refer
such patients back to their home physicians for care.
I served as Chairman of the Department of Surgery at State University of New York, Health Science Center at Brooklyn (Downstate)
from 1952 to 1972, during which time I served as President for a year of each of several societies, among them the Society
for Vascular Surgery, the New York Surgical Society, and the New York Cancer Society. I retired from State University of New
York (now at Stony Brook) 2 years ago and moved to the University of Minnesota. It is a privilege in my eyes to serve as Director
of this, the original Cancer Detection Center anywhere, to which position I was appointed this past March.
Your letter suggests that you are routinely screening patients for early, still asymptomatic malignancies to provide them
with an enhanced longevity. If this is the case, let me extend my congratulations to you and welcome you to the fold.
I trust the above explanation of the purposes of this activity will convince you that we really do not have horns and that
our aim is an altruistic one with the patients' welfare strongly in mind.
Clarence Dennis, M.D.
Cancer Detection Center
P.S. Dr. Fritz Midelfort was a fraternity brother with me in the early 1930's when we were at the Johns Hopkins Medical
School Thus I have known of the Midelfort Clinic and of the high esteem in which it has been held for a long time. I see he
is not listed in the Directory of Medical Specialists and would be interested to know what became of him. All I can recall
is that he looked forward to his return to Eau Claire to become a part of your Clinic.