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The Historical Evolution of Oncology and Oncology Nursing Abstract Although the history of the identification and the treatment of cancer can be traced back as far as the beginnings of human civilization, the modern and effective treatment of this debilitating disease is less than a century old…
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The Historical Evolution of Oncology and Oncology Nursing
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Download file to see previous pages The Historical Evolution of Oncology and Oncology Nursing As long as there are humans, there is also the occurrence of cancer. Cancer is controlled by many factors: among these is the presence of cancer-initiating genes or oncogenes; and cancer-inhibiting genes or cancer suppressor genes, both of which are normally present in the human genome (Johnson & Gross, 1998). As early as the Paleolithic period, perhaps even earlier than that, some human remains were studied and found out that there were possible identified traces of cancer that protrude as excessive outgrowths in the skull or other bones of the body. Some 2,400 years ago, samples of these tumor growths were present in some Egyptian and Peruvian mummies and were identified as osteosarcomas or a form of bone cancer (Wagener, 2009). Due to the loss of the capability of these cancer cells to stop dividing after reaching a certain mass and cell thickness is reached (density-dependent growth), tumor cells keep on regenerating, dividing and multiplying until a disorganized clump of cells are formed, which results in the masses of tissue that need to be treated in order to prevent the recurrence of other cancerous cells in other parts of the body (Johnson & Gross, 1998). Since bone is much more easily preserved due to its mineral contents, cancerous and malignant growths in ancient bone samples were much more easily obtained and identified for further analyses (Wagener, 2009). Hippocrates was one of the first to initiate the study of oncology. Although it has barely any scientific bases with regards to the formation and the development of tumor growth, most of the terms being used today in oncology were from his initial descriptions of the different types of masses present in the afflicted patient (Wagener, 2009). The Greek word for tumor is “oncos”, which is the root word origin for oncology, “scirrhos” or hard for tumors that felt hard when palpated, and “carcinos”, or crab as the root word for carcinoma, which were used by Hippocrates as well as his successors in the identification of the different kinds of cancer in patients. Unfortunately, during the early times most of those afflicted by cancer were women, and due to the disfigurement that the malignant tumors cause, instead of getting treatment these women chose to hide their pains, silencing their chances of getting better and just suffering in secret (ibid.). During the establishment of medical schools in the medieval times, post-mortem examinations of patients with different diseases as well as medical autopsies were undertaken to further track down the effects of diseases to the human body (Wagener, 2009). There were also resurfacings of the ancient texts with regards to the diseases of the body, as well as on how to remove them. Galen, whose works were also derived from the findings of Hippocrates, began as the source of ideas in the field of oncology. However, the causes of cancer still alluded most medical experts during this time, and there was no correlation between the hard and enlarged lumps in the armpits of patients and breast cancer. It was only known at that time that cancer was caused by secretions of toxins formed within the body that eventually causes death (ibid.). Only around the early 1700-1800’ ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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