The History of Breast Cancer Research

The History of Breast Cancer Research

Breast cancer results from uncontrolled growth of breast cells resulting in a malignant tumor. Scientists have been trying to get a cure for the disease for many years. A lot of progress has been made since they begun, although no cure has yet been found. The earliest records of the disease date back to as early as the Egyptian civilization. They recorded the lumps as tumors or ulcers in the breasts. They also concluded that there was no known cure and that treatment was not effective. Treatment was done through creating burns on breast tissue. This treatment involved the burning of the diseased body part. It was done in order to remove the undesired growths.

However, in the seventeenth century, surgeons discovered the link between breast cancer and lymph nodes in the armpits. They then began to do surgical procedures in order to remove the lymph nodes, breast tissue and chest muscle. This procedure was first performed by a French surgeon, Jean Louis Petit in the late sixteen hundred and early seventeen hundred. Another surgeon, Benjamin Bell of Scottish descent continued with his work and performed these procedures until 1806.

From around 1882, surgeons progressed to doing mastectomy. They believed that this would help prevent the recurrence of breast cancer. They performed radical mastectomy which involved the removal of both breasts; affected lymph nodes and chest muscles. This form of treatment caused extreme pain and even disability to the patients. However, no improvements were made to this procedure and surgeons continued to do radical mastectomy for patients until the seventies. From this year, breast awareness campaigns grew rapidly. More and more people became aware of the disease and stigmatization was addressed. In addition, initiatives such as the pink ribbon was started to show solidarity with survivors of the disease.

In addition, due to the breast cancer awareness campaigns, research companies gained recognition for their efforts and also got funding. Support groups for survivors were also started as people gained more knowledge of the disease. However, treatment has been improved since the seventies. Surgery is normally performed to remove the cancerous lump. A mastectomy can also be performed on the affected breast, or a lymph node dissection would be done. Surgery is followed by radiation, hormonal therapy and chemotherapy. In addition, you can combine treatment with complementary medicine. However, research is still ongoing and a cure is yet to be found for the disease.

The History of Breast Cancer Research

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