New PDF release: Cancer: An Enigma in Biology and Society

By R. Nery DSc, FRSC (auth.)

For visible useful purposes the topic of oncology has in­ creasingly been changing into artificially subdivided, e.g. into epidemiology, experimental carcinogenesis, pathology, im­ munology, genetics, or even microbiology. such a lot extant tre­ atments of the topic are multi-authored, even if they take care of only one of those quite a few subdivisions. in addition, the corresponding experts have obvious the melanoma challenge as one in the purview in their personal calling. In nature, even if, the matter is a cohesion: its immunology, biochemistry, genetics, and phone biology, for instance, are heavily interdependent. Con­ sequently, its right appraisal calls for targeted exam of all the significant components, yet with the first goal of a single-minded and consequently unified survey of the complete. the current paintings is an supplying during this course. it's addressed in particular to all training oncologists, even if medical or ex­ perimental, and usually to all critical scholars of the expansion of oncology and drugs from historical to trendy times.

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Its capacity to prostitute science to the extremes of absurdity is well illustrated by the following passage from Professor Preserved Smith's History of Modern Culture (1930-1934): The medievals cared not a whit to know anything about animals and plants for the sake of curiosity; they wanted to find in them something profitable to the soul . . Besides including a large number of mythical beasts - dragons, 42 Historical Perspectives: Concepts griffins, cockatrices, basilisk, mantichores, and phoenixesin their menagerie, they had much to tell of the .

They confounded under a common name nerves, ligaments and tendons; they distinguished very imperfectly the arteries and veins; and the muscles, in their eyes, were inert masses designed solely to cover bones, serving as an envelope or ornament. They possessed in short only gross and false ideas on the structure and functions of the brain, heart, liver, lungs, digestive and generative apparatus, for the reason that they had never been able to devote themselves to regular dissections. But this did not prevent them from adducing very decided opinions on the organs and their functions, which no one could verify or deny.

One of the cuneiform tablets mentioned above, which came down from the nineteenth or eighteenth century Be and was dealing with the Babylonian practice of hepatoscopy (divination by inspection of Historical Perspectives: Concepts 37 the liver of animals) gave this prognosis: 'If a fleshy tumour is found at the bottom of the na [an unidentified part of the liver], the patient will get worse and he will die'. As discussed below, available records show that cancer was sufficiently common by the sixth century BC to lead the Greeks to name and classify it, to speculate about its causation, and to attempt its treatment.

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