In not only removing the breast, but removing other

In 2014, about 14.5 million people were living under the diagnosis of cancer. By the year of 2024, it is projected that people living beyond the diagnosis of cancer will surpass 19 million (1). Cancer has not only been thriving, but killing the human population for centuries. The first written records of cancer came from Egyptian papyrus documentation in 1550 BC. Cancer is apart of our genetic inheritance; it is the uncontrolled growth of a single cell which attacks organs such as our blood and lungs. It was not until the 1940s when the start of the intense cancer research began(5). Many scientists took on the task to not only try and cure cancer, but discover the culture surrounding it. In the Emperor of All Maladies, there were many approaches for cancer treatment. The three most prominent things that stood out were William Halsted’s surgery known as “Cut it all out”, Sidney Farber’s hard work and dedication, and Emil Frey and Emil Fradrag being the first to cure a patient with leukemia. All of these scientists helped contribute to the evolution of cancer treatment. William Halsted contributed to the treatment of cancer drastically. Halsted entered medicine in 1868 and was the master surgeon at Johns Hopkins in 1890(5). Halsted was the father of “cut it all out” approach. Halsted was known for his innovative, complex surgeries and pushing his patients to the limit. He created the first “Radical mastectomy” which was not only removing the breast, but removing other parts of the body such as muscle and the lymph nodes underneath(2). Halsted felt that if you removed a wide enough portion, not only around the area affected, but underneath, it would remove all the cancer(2). Halsted’s bold and confident surgeries influenced many other surgeons around the world. A countless amount of surgeons expanded on his ideas and practices and not only used it for breast cancer, but for other cancers around the body. Unfortunately, there were complications to this procedure like many of the other takes on the treatment of cancer. Even when the breast was removed, cancer could still spread to other parts of the body. Many patients had relapses occur in other parts of their body after time. William Halsted’s approach not only influenced many surgeons around the world, but brought on another take and helped progress the process of cancer treatment. His ideas created openings for discoveries later on(2). ┬áIn 1896, Emil Grubbe invented another approach to curing cancer known as radiation. Grubbe began experimenting with x-rays. His idea was to focus enough on the spot affected in order to burn out the tumors. His first test was on a woman with breast cancer. He did 18 treatments on her which soon caused the tumor to shrink(2). Grubbe discovered radiation because it cut into areas that surgeons could not get to. The radiation was a poison treatment; it was directed at the location of the cancer in order to kill it, not all healthy cells. The discovery of this linked with Marie Curie’s discovery of isolating radium in the 1900s(2). Soon after the two coupled, it led to an industry, where they began to treat about 75 patients a day(2). This radiation was helping improve the lives of the patients’, but they also were receiving the harmful effects. High doses of the radiation burned, scarred and even blinded people. Even the doctors themselves were being affected by this radiation. From constantly being exposed to the radiation, doctors like Grubbe were diagnosed with radiation poisoning. Grubbe lost his arm, lip, and hand. Not only were these side effects downsides, but this treatment only worked if the cancer remained in one area, which often it did not. Although Grubbe was not able to treat cancer, he exposed more ideas which helped scientists later on like Farber who also used the poisoning technique(2). Sidney Farber changed the lives of many when he arrived at the Boston Children Hospital in 1929(2). Farber came up with numerous amounts of ideas in order to cure leukemia. His first noteworthy approach was on a patient named Robert Sandler in 1947(3). Cancer was the most feared killer in America when Farber began to help Robert. Farber attempted one last effort to save Robert by trying to poison the cancer with a drug called eminoctrine(6). This would starve out the white blood cells to prevent them from spreading. Robert Sandler’s recovery occurred in 1948; ten out of sixteen children had good results and showed progress, but only for a few months and then the leukemia returned to them and they passed away(2). Because eminoctrine was not selective, it was not only killing bad cells, but the healthy ones as well. Many scientists and people thought that cancer was the most proliferating cell, but hair, skin, bone, brain and gut lining cells were. Farber was the first to introduce the modern era of chemotherapy. Farber not only attempted to cure cancer, he also wanted the public to be aware and help support for further research. Farber created the “Jimmy Fund”; This was introduced at first in hopes to raise $20,000, but instead it ended up raising $200,000(2). Using the money raised, Farber was able to open the “Jimmy Fund Clinic”, a happier hospital for children which was dedicated to only cancer research. From this fund, Farber became more of a public figure, but not as much as he had hoped for. He paired with Mary Lasker who was a wealthy advocate for raising awareness and a strong public figure. Mary had the connections and Farber had the desire. The two together were a power team. They were able to receive $100 million from the government for cancer research(2). They concentrated all of their work to the National Cancer Institute. The strong attention and focus on the NCI led to many incredible discoveries(5). Not only did Farber discover many crucial aspects of cancer research, he was able to make the public support and become aware of cancer instead of having them withhold their stigmas surrounding it. Since the 1950s, chemotherapy has evolved drastically. Chemotherapy has always had ancient roots. Scientists discovered findings from many years ago which often were recorded with chemotherapy and simply saying that there was no cure for cancer. In 1942 Lewis Goodman and Alfred Gilman rediscovered the theory that mustard gas was tumor regressing. They first tested this on a 48-year-old worker suffering from lymphoma (3). Nitrogen Gas Therapy hit cancerous cells more than it hit active cells (4). Although this therapy was successful for worker J.D., people were still skeptical about it throughout the early 1960s. It was not until 1962 when the VAMP trial took place. This program used four different types of drugs all working different jobs in order to attack the cancer. This took chemotherapy to a new level; remissions increased from 25% to 60%. Towards the end of the 1960s both MOMP and MOPP programs were created. MOMP combined nitrogen mustard with three other drugs for chemotherapy. MOPP did not use the drug methotrexate, but procarbazine because it was able to test the combination of the drugs in advance(5). These programs boosted remissions from near 0% to 80%. The National Cancer Act was passed in 1971 which launched the “War on Cancer”. About 9 million dollars raised to 119 million by 1980 in order to help for further research. Since then, the market for cancer drugs has grown drastically which allows for further investigations, research and findings. The discovery of monoclonal antibodies has been proven to work best with chemotherapy. From 1990 to 2005 the cancer rate of mortality has continued to decline (5). Fortunately, in 2007, the declining rate of cancer doubled. Cancer drugs continue to be created and are necessary for continued progress. The early detection and combination of chemotherapy help to keep the rate of mortality as low as possible.Although there were many attempts to find the cure for cancer, many of them did not fully succeed. Even though this may have been discouraging and disappointing, all of the discoveries and attempts progressed the treatment of cancer. One discovery led to another; The constant desire to find a cure and raise awareness allowed the research to be possible. The NCI was able to discover the VAMP trial which used four different chemotherapy drugs, all having a different attacking job which led to the first child, at the age of 13, cured of leukemia known as Karen Cord(2). If it was not for the hard work and dedication of the scientists such as Holsted, Farber and Grubbe. this may have never occurred. The survival rate of patients fighting leukemia used to be under 30%; today the survival rate is 90% and that could not have been possible if it was not for the hard work of the scientists(5).


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