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Cancer: Its History and Treatment in US Society

Cancer has been selected as the subject of this paper because it is a major cause of morbidity and mortality. Every year, almost a million new cases of cancer are diagnosed in the United States (Freed, 1984). After a brief history of the disease and its treatment in our society, this paper will focus on what goes wrong at the cellular level in cancer (e.g. kinds of cells damaged and how the damage occurs), how changes at the cellular level affect the rest of the body, symptoms of the disease, how the disease can be prevented and treated, and possibilities of a future cure.

Cancer predates our society. Archaeological evidence indicates that cancer is more than a million years old. Evidence of bone cancer was found in Egyptian mummies from the Great Pyramid of Gizeh, and 1,500 year old manuscripts describe cancer and primitive forms of treatment like placing arsenic pastes on cancerous growths, cautery, and plant and herbal remedies. An early Russian remedy involved placing patients on a grape diet. Cancer remains a baffling malady. It was not until 1761 that a carcinogenic substance, tobacco snuff, was first reported. One reason for the difficulty of understanding cancer is that there are several hundred different types of cancer - e.g. cancer of the oral cavity, lung cancer, breast cancer, colon and rectal cancer, adenocarcinoma of the stomach, skin cancer (basal cell and squamous cell), uterine cancer, cervical cancer, prostatic cancer, urinary tract cancer, leukemia and lymphoma, to name but a few. Both sexes, all ages and ethnic groups, and people from every country in the world are affected by cancer. However, different groups may be affected by different cancers. For example, breast cancer is most common among females (Lewis & Elvin-Lewis, 1977, pp. 105-126).

At the cellular level, the kinds of cells damaged and the damage that occurs varies with the type of cancer. In colon cancer, carcinogenesis may start wit...

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Cancer: Its History and Treatment in US Society. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 10:37, November 29, 2021, from