The History and Mystery of Cancer

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Where did cancer come from? Where did it all begin? How long has it been around?

The truth is we don’t really know, but it seems to have been present in humans and other animals since the beginning of recorded history.

Fossilized tumors have been found in Egyptian mummies and the oldest written description of cancer dates back 3,000 years.

Breast cancer surgery began in 1600’s when lymph nodes were discovered to be a part of the cancer picture, and in 1857 the so called “radical mastectomy” began to catch on in England, and that became the surgical standard for 60 long years.

In 1930, the medical profession began using radiation to alter the DNA of cancerous cells and then in 1943 the first chemotherapeutic agent was introduced. Today the National Cancer Institute lists more than 200 chemotherapy drugs that are available.

The first record of chemotherapy being used for cancer dates back to 1600 B.C. in Egypt, and consisted of a mixture of fresh dates, limestone and water that was actually injected directly into tumors. The results of such injections have been lost over time.

But make no mistake; we’ve come a long way. So I have to wonder just how long in the future will it be before we look back at the methods and therapies we use today and label them as primitive and archaic?

It’s enough to make King Tut’s beard curl.

The bottom line of course is that contemporary cancer survivors have a lot of choices to make. And we owe it to ourselves to do the research and ask tons of questions; to question everything we read and hear and every bit of advice we get, backed up by every bit of evidence to support it.

And with history on our side, the mystery of cancer may one day be fully understood. Until then we have the gift of hindsight to make informed choices in our own health.


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