Psychosomatic Tradition in Cancer from Antiquity till the End of the Nineteenth Century

  • G. A. Rigatos
  • Iris Kappou-Rigatou
Conference paper


Psychosomatic conceptions about cancer reach back to the ancient times. Ancient Greek Medicine, dominated by the theories of Hippocrates about the pathology of bodily juices (“Chymopathology”), attributes the development of cancer to an excess of the black bile. Galenus (2nd century A.D.) has written characteristicaly1:

“Εναργώς γαρ άπαντα τα τοιαύτα πάθη ϰαι μάλισθ’ ο ϰαρϰίνος υπό μελαγχολιϰού γίνεται χυμού”.

“Clearly all these diseases and especially cancer develop from the melancholic juice (i.e. the juice of the black bile)”.


Similar Opinion Intestinal Cancer Greek Physician Greek Historian Black Bile 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. A. Rigatos
    • 1
  • Iris Kappou-Rigatou
    • 1
  1. 1.First Department of Internal Medicine-OncologySaint Savvas HospitalAthensGreece

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