Some aspects of accessible cancers. Skin.

  • Film

About this work


This film (one of five) is aimed at general practitioners and other professional medical audiences. Its purpose is to encourage doctors to refer patients to a specialist as soon as possible. Each patient is interviewed regarding how the tumours originally presented themselves. Surprisingly, many of the patients have had their tumours for some time. The film features some patients with considerable facial and physical deformity. Basal and squamous tumours are described. Identifying factors are mentioned. Any ulcer present for more three weeks is recommended to be referred to a skin clinic; a waiting room with staff in attendance is shown. A man has his lip examined. The patient is told about the possible outcomes; treatment is immediate. Photographs and a biopsy are taken. Surgery is required for some kinds of tumour; skin grafts are harvested. The patient in question is provided with a prosthetic; the cosmetic results are good. A young woman has a malignant mole on her leg; she is seen post surgery. A physical examination is made to identify any enlarged lymph nodes. A man has a tumour under one eye and the eye is protected by a lead/glass contact lens as it is treated with irradiation. A woman who has a similar procedure also has a good outcome. Lead or lead rubber is used to protect the surrounding skin during irradiation. A radium mould or wax blocks is used for curved surfaces. Lead needles and a mask are used for other more complex tumours to the face. Footage of a woman who has lost a third of her face to cancer reveals what can be achieved post operatively. Unfortunately, errors of judgement have led to a man losing a considerably amount of his face including one eye and most of the same side of his face.


United Kingdom, 1951.

Physical description

1 film reel (25 mins.) : sound; black and white, 16 mm.

Copyright note

Crown Copyright.


This film forms part of a group of films donated to the Wellcome Trust in 2006 by The British Medical Association.

Creator/production credits

Made under the supervision of Sir Stanford Cade, Malcolm Donaldson, G. F. Stebbing. Principal medical advisers for the following hospitals are credited at the beginning of the film; The Royal Cancer Hospital, Westminster Hospital, Middlesex Hospital, Mount Vernon Hospital & Radium Institute Realist Film Unit. A C. O. I. film made for the Ministry of Health by Realist Film Unit. Photography A. E. Jenkins, Associate Producer Edgar Anstey, Director Jack Ellitt.



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