Present Status of Radiation Therapy of Cancer: An Overview

  • Henry S. Kaplan
Part of the Cancer book series (C, volume 6)


The discovery, shortly before the turn of the century, of X-rays by Roentgen, of radioactivity by Becquerel, and of radium by the Curies was promptly followed by the therapeutic application of these new agents, and by 1899 the first cancer, a basal cell epithelioma, had been cured. Thus the entire history of radiation therapy as a treatment modality now encompasses only some 80 years (Case, 1958). The dramatic initial responses observed in the treatment of skin and other superficial neoplasms were so unprecedented that they generated the unrealistic hope that a miraculous cure for cancer had finally been discovered. This naive view was soon followed by an equally unwarranted wave of disillusionment and pessimism when tumor recurrences and injuries to normal tissues began to appear.


Radiation Oncologist Malignant Lymphoma Linear Energy Transfer Constrictive Pericarditis Cervical Lymph Node Metastasis 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • Henry S. Kaplan
    • 1
  1. 1.Cancer Biology Research Laboratory, Department of RadiologyStanford University School of MedicineStanfordUSA

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