thumbnail of America's African heritage; 19
Hide -
If this transcript has significant errors that should be corrected, let us know, so we can add it to FIX IT+
If you listen to the radio or watch a television show if you eat pork chops or mutton you are using COBOL. Every living American including unborn children benefit from this precious metal. The National Association of educational broadcasters presents America's African heritage recorded in Africa by your question. All. Right Graham 19 COBOL and the treatment of cancer. Here is your quest for truth. We are speaking for the day from the causeways the cobalt and compromise in the southern part of the boat you can see that sound you hear is a huge drill bore you pulled into the water in preparation for a dynamite operate before we get into the story of the mining because I thought I would like to play for you a 40 made prior to my departure for after that a couple of times with me from Cedar Rapids I will take you back. Margaret how are you.
Dr. Prouty I'm sure that the eyes of the world are focused on the cretin that room here at Margaret and the Howard hall radiation center in Cedar Rapids and on others like it throughout the country and the hearts of many thousands of people are filled with new hope because of the success you have had here in the battle against cancer. Would you give us a brief history of how this radiation center came into being about two years ago Mr Howard Haar one of our regular industrialists became interested in Kobach treatments for cancer. This interest was due to the excellent results run of his farm and obtained from treatments given him at London Ontario Canada. Mr Howard told me the story of Tom Ross as foreman and said if they can have a unit in London Ontario Why can't we have one in Cedar Rapids. The end result of this first meeting with Mr
Hall was that he constructed down the Mersey Hospital property adjacent to the hospital. This building and equipped with the facilities to give Kobach treatments it is no. As they migrate and Howard Howard radiation center and was a gift to the people of Cedar Rapids and its surrounding area. Well is this the only place in Doctor Prouty where Cobalt treatments are being given. Now. You know it has recently been starlit the university hospitals at Iowa City. What results are you waiting to see of the success of your CT about treatments. Since the Center was established eight months ago the time ever to shark Mr. West and the number of patients too small for us to give any statistics of our results. At the present time I can say that we have had many advanced cancer patients who were considered hopeless and yet they have had an
excellent and initial response to any radiation. I have seen large tumors decrease in size or disappear with relief of pain to the patient. We also see patients who do not respond to treatment. These have usually been patients who have had an advanced stage of the disease or a very resistant type of tumor. Well what is there actually about cobalt which makes it superior to these other metals. About 60 has several advantages. The radiation from carbide 60 is in the super voltage group as it is equivalent to the useful radiation from about 8 to 3 million electrons for x ray therapy unit. The common the x ray therapy unit has a capacity of two hundred and fifty thousand volts. There are other physical reasons which I believe make X cobalt 60
better radioactive element. And I suppose there are many people like myself who have a rather hazy idea as to what it really looks like. I have imagined that it has the appearance of a silvery circular bar of about a foot in length. Does that description come anywhere near it. No they called it used in this unit consists of 14 separate white disks two sided meters in diameter and 1 millimeter thick. They are about the size of a penny. How are these silver discs treated before they are placed in the Tele therapy unit. These discs are bombarded with new crowns far from 12 to 18 months until they become radioactive. They are obtained through the Atomic Energy Commission. Well I would imagine that the procedure of treating the Cobalt makes the Cobalt disks quite expensive. I think the metal Cobalt is relatively inexpensive. It is the
process of making the disks radioactive and the handling and transportation afterwards that makes it so expensive. Well the cost of the club must make the treatment quite expensive. The cost of treating the average patient is usually from 300 to $400 for the entire series of treatments. It could not be done at that price if Mr. Hall had not furnished the facilities. Now here you see the treatment room where the community is set up. They lead glass window through which you are looking is 9 by 12 inches and 30 inches thick. There is a slight destruction but you can see surprisingly well this window allows that therapy technician to keep the patient under observation during treatment. Is the technician. Able to carry on a conversation with the patient during treatment.
We have a saxophone so that we can talk to the patient. All right if the patient becomes uncomfortable they can call to us. When the patients know they have they can speak that we will hear them. It usually allays our fear of the treatment. I can see that would be true. Well that effect with the Cobalt rays have only attended if she remained in the treatment room while the unit was in use. If the attendant were to remain in the room during a treatment she would receive scattered radiation from the patient floor and was. It is not good for anyone to receive irradiation unnecessarily. If too much radiation is received it has a detrimental effect upon the blood cells and upon the bone which forms the blood cells. As we enter the room. You will note the heavy door. It contains a thick sheet of lead and weighs over 600 pounds.
The room is circular outline and about 20 feet in diameter. What is the construction of the laws of treatment. The rowers are concrete. Forty two inches thick and covered with tile. In recent years we are more careful to protect ourselves from scattered radiation because the incidence of leukemia is 80 times more. Common among those who work with radiation than it is in the general population. It's 8 to 10 times more common gas. Where are the rays that penetrate the walls harmful at all. The amount of radiation that passes through the rar of the room is well below the limit of tolerance according to the survey made by a physicist. Now that Led by all Dr. Prouty which is attached to the toilet therapy unit it's a huge ball isn't it. Yes the head of the unit which contains a radioactive core bow weighs twenty two hundred
pounds. And what is the height of the support to which the lead ball is attached. They support is approximately nine feet high. Now about how long does it take for the actual treat. The treatment varies from three to seven minutes. The treatment time depends upon the size of the area or location and type of tumor treated well is it possible to control the depth at which the rays penetrate. It is relatively impossible to control the depth to which the rays penetrate. The big advantage of carbide 60 irradiation over the usual x ray therapy machine is the increased penetration which I was asked to deliver a larger dose to deep seated tumors. Well is there any danger of the patients suffering any harmful effects from the Cobalt rays. Yes. If too much radiation is given. When large areas are treated we have to watch the blood count to see that too much
radiation is not given. Our aim is to give enough radiation to destroy the cancer cells and not do irreparable harm to the normal tissues. Now are there certain types of cancer which respond more readily to this kind of treatment. Yes there are certain types of cancer which are more sensitive to radiation such as those tumors arising from lymph nodes and the lymphatic system. There are many types of cancer. That arise in any of our body tissues. Some are sensitive to radiation others are very resistant. I might add that Cobalt 60 is not a cure all. It is only one of the weapons used in the fight against cancer. It is said that the early diagnosis and early treatment of cancer is more important than the best treatment in the world. Late in the course of disease this
treatment may be by surgery irradiation or a combination of methods. Now at the moment Dr. Prouty is there a patient in the treatment room. Yes our technician. Is getting a patient ready for treatment now. In a moment perhaps we can hear her conversation with the patient over the communicating system. My name is Gallagher. Yesterday. Good night. You know that I mean that there is the patient whose voice we just heard the first of the day.
No this is about the sixth or seventh patient. What is the average number of patients that you treat during the day. We will treat on an average from 12 to 15 patients daily. Well it has been most kind of you Dr. Prouty to take the time to give us this interesting story of the new approach to the treatment of cancer through the use of CORBA. Now we will take leave of Dr. Prouty and his staff here at the radiation center at Cedar Rapids and prepare for our journey into Africa for the story behind in the minds of those in the Congo. When you next hear my voice. I will be speaking to you from somewhere in the Katanga area of the Belgian Congo. And now we're back at the coal wheezing mines. Well that was almost enough to make your head
swim from the Belgian Congo to Cedar Rapids Iowa and then back to the Congo in about 10 minutes. Now before we get into the story of the Cobalt mining operation let's consider some of the uses of this important mineral which is eight times as valuable as copper one of its most important uses in addition to the treatment of cancer is in the making of steel Cobalt hardens the steel and makes it more resistant to heat for that reason Cobalt has become a very important material in the manufacture of the motors used in automobiles and airplanes and especially in jet propelled engines. It is employed in car manufacturing and in many other ways. For instance a mixture of nickel and cobalt is used as plating for car bumpers and other use of cobalt is in the permanent magnets which are a part of television and radio calls. There's cobalt in this very tape recorder in which I am now speaking. There are many other ways in which this important metal is used in paints and hogtied as a cure for diseases of animals particularly in sheep on one of our previous programs.
You will remember our recording of a visit to the Abbott pharmaceutical laboratory in North Chicago where we saw a pill being manufactured and known as a dye Coates one of the important ingredients in this tablet is cobalt. Doctors give this little pill to pregnant women to provide some of the minerals both the mother and the baby need. And one of those minerals is Coke in view of these facts. We asked the question why should we be interested in the subject of the mining of Coburg. If you ride in an automobile or an airplane if you send or receive or mail letters you are making use of COBRA. If you listen to the radio or watch a television show if you eat pork chops or mutton you are using Como. I suppose we could say that every living American including unborn children benefits from this precious metal. We don't have the time on this program to go into a description of the mining operation here in the Congo. But we return on our next program with a dramatic story about the copper and the Cobalt here in the mines at coal wheezy.
Please note: This content is only available at GBH and the Library of Congress, either due to copyright restrictions or because this content has not yet been reviewed for copyright or privacy issues. For information about on location research, click here.
America's African heritage
Episode Number
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, or if you have concerns about this record, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip/500-cj87n39b).
No description available
Race and Ethnicity
Media type
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 4917 (University of Maryland)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:30:00?
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
Chicago: “America's African heritage; 19,” University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed May 18, 2022,
MLA: “America's African heritage; 19.” University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. May 18, 2022. <>.
APA: America's African heritage; 19. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from