Authored by Revere Health

History of Cancer

September 13, 2016 | Cancer CenterMedical Oncology

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History of Cancer

Emory University cites an Egyptian papyrus from 3000 B.C. as the earliest report of signs of cancer.  In 400 B.C., Hippocrates linked cancer to excessive black bile in the body.  Roman physician, Galen, associated the disorder with a bad climate and an unhealthy diet.

Reims, France was the site of the first cancer hospital in 1779.  Local officials moved it away from the town, assuming the illness was contagious.  The discovery of X-rays in 1895 was a monumental event. The 20th century brought revelations about the role of DNA and RNA, tumor suppressor genes and the ability to create tumor cells.  Perhaps the most exciting 21st century advance so far is the use of immunotherapy to treat cancer.


Types of Cancer

More than 11 million Americans have some type of cancer.  According to Everyday Health, at least 200 types of malignancies exist.  Do you know the 10 most common?  They include:

  •   Cancer of the skin that isn’t melanoma
  •   Lung cancer
  •   Breast cancer
  •   Prostate cancer
  •   Colorectal cancer
  •   Bladder cancer
  •   Melanoma
  •   Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  •   Kidney cancer
  •   Leukemia

Some cancer patients report a sense of their bodies as somehow “off” before their diagnosis.  Among common signals to see a physician are sores that don’t heal, bowel or bladder habit changes, indigestion, unusual bleeding, changes in skin growths, lumps and persistent coughing or hoarseness.


Cancer Trends

Information from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) shows a much rosier picture today than one you’d have seen a few decades ago.  In 1975, 199 of every 100,000 Americans died of cancer.  The mortality rate is now 178 deaths for every 100,000 Americans.  The incidence rate has been declining since 1992.

Significant survival rate increases exist for certain cancers.  If, for example, you develop prostate cancer, you have a five-year relative survival rate of 90 percent versus 69 percent in 1975.

Some cancers are on the rise, however.  One of them is melanoma.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, if you’re male, your incidence rate increased 1.7 percent yearly from 2003-2012.  For females, the figure was 1.4 percent.


Developments in Cancer

Cancer no longer has the social stigma it carried years ago.  Although researchers have not found a cure, NIH chronicles these important recent developments:

Smoking rates have plummeted since the 1970s, reducing the U.S. cancer death rate  significantly. 

Improved screenings using technology such as MRIs and 3D breast tomography mean quicker and more accurate diagnoses.

Customized or combination chemotherapy is now standard for some cancers, improving survival rates dramatically.

Immunotherapy uses your immune system to attack cancer.

Refined radiation therapy procedures help preserve healthy tissue and organs.

Several cancer prevention vaccines are available.

Healthcare providers can better control side effects of treatment-related effects like pain, nausea and mouth sores.


When You Need a Professional

It’s important to have the right professionals in your corner and the latest in technology available from the moment you receive a diagnosis through completion of your care.  Qualified cancer specialists have completed extensive training in oncology and hematology and will coordinate your care with other medical professionals.
Take a moment to call Revere Health today to schedule your appointment.  You’ll always encounter top patient-centered services and individualized care.


Our Cancer Care team offers patients in Utah unprecedented access to the quality, specialized healthcare they need. We work with and listen to our cancer patients to ensure that the quality of the diagnosis and treatment are at the forefront of everything we do.




The Live Better Team

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This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.