The Role of Surgery in the Treatment of Breast Cancer: Historical Review and Current Status

  • I. M. Ariel


Some form of surgery has been advocated for treating breast cancer since prehistoric times. The earliest reports advocated no treatment for breast cancer [1]. Surgery was usually combined with local applications of ointments, mysticism, and magic. The Edwin Smith Surgical Papyrus (3600–2500 B.C., reconstructed by J. H. Breasted, the late director of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago [2], describes eight cases of breast tumors. A simple statement is made concerning treatment: “There is no treatment.” This was the first separation of tumors of the breast (cancer) from inflammatory diseases or abscesses. Cauterization, “fine drill,”was used for abscesses, but no treatment whatsoever was advocated for the cancers.


Breast Cancer Axillary Dissection Radical Mastectomy Pectoral Muscle Wide Excision 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin · Heidelberg 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • I. M. Ariel
    • 1
  1. 1.Foundation for Clinical Research Inc.New YorkUSA

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