The History Of Cancer And Treatments

WORLD HISTORY | October 29, 2019

Cancer. Source: (creative-commons-images.com)

Everywhere you turn, there is talk about cancer. Cancer is the most dreaded disease in all of history.

Like the common cold that no one can find a cure for, such as the case with cancer. There are so many false claims and reports from hopeful (or dishonest) people and products claiming that they have the “cure” and try to persuade you to buy their product or follow their advice.

It is believed that this dreaded disease has been around ever since at least 5000 B.C. but some even believe it existed in prehistoric times in dinosaurs.    

Oldest Known Case of Human Cancer. Source: (pinterest.com)

It is unknown when the actual first case of cancer occurred as there are conflicting accounts reported. One of the accounts determines that it was in 5000 B.C. where evidence of leukemia was found from the remains of a Neolithic woman who had lived in the area that is now Germany. Another account determines that it was in ancient Egypt when eight cases of breast tumors occurred where a hot instrument called a “fire drill” was used to cauterize them, but the timeframe differs among stories – 3000 or 1500 B.C. In this account, it was also stated that they believed there was no cure for it. Supposedly this was all recorded on papyrus and the Egyptians believed that the gods caused cancer.

Hippocrates, The Father of Medicine. Source: (pinterest.com)

Beginning with Hippocrates, it was believed that what caused cancer was excess black bile in the body which remained the theory for 1,400 years. Hippocrates was the one who actually gave cancer its name. He was a Greek physician; so, not surprisingly, the name “cancer” was a Greek word for what we know to be a crab.

A Roman physician named Galen believed that cancer could be cured in the early stages but advanced cancer required surgery or cauterization. He blamed the cause of cancer on bad diet and bad climate.  

Prostate Cancer. Source: (wikimedia.org)

In 1750, John Hunter believed in what is known as the Lymph Theory of Cancer and believed that cancer was removable if it had not yet spread. Giovanni Morgagni, in 1761, was able to obtain information through autopsies which made it possible to actually study cancer. John Hill, during that same year, determined that tobacco use was related to cancer and even wrote about the use of snuff. In 1775, other factors showed up as possible causes of cancer such as certain occupations like chimney sweeps. It was determined that a buildup of soot under the scrotum could cause scrotal cancer.

The spread of cancer or metastasis was first recognized by Joseph Claude Anthelm Recamier in 1829 and is considered to be the cause of death in 90% of cancer deaths.

Tumor. Source: (wikipedia.org)

Due to all of the research that has been done over the years, it has been discovered that there are many forms and types of cancer. There is skin cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, uterine cancer, lung cancer, throat cancer, stomach cancer, pancreatic cancer, colon cancer, bone cancer, melanoma, liver cancer, leukemia, and the list goes on. Basically, any part of your body can become cancerous.

Because of so many different types of cancer, many different methods of treating them have been developed. Cancer research has been done for years and continues to be done all the time.     

Radiation Therapy. Source: (simple.wikipedia.org)

Treatment methods that have been developed include but, are not limited to, chemotherapy (discovered in 1946 through the use of nitrogen mustards), radiation therapy, and surgical removal of the cancer.

Some of the ways research is being done is through clinical studies either with lab animals or willing human subjects. Various medications are being tested and tried through these studies in hopes of finding one that will either be temporary solutions to prolong life or cures for certain types of cancer or, even better, a cure for all cancer types.

The jury is still out on the final outcome of a cure for cancer.

Tags: Cancer treatments

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