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Cancer. 2013 Dec 1;119(23):4058-82. doi: 10.1002/cncr.28319. Epub 2013 Sep 16.

A note from history: Landmarks in history of cancer, Part 6.

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Pathology Consultants, Westlake Village, California.


In the 3 decades from 1940 to 1970, the United States became the nucleus for research, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer. The discovery of anticancer drugs, and the clinical demonstration that chemotherapy and radiation can cure cancer and have the ability to prevent recurrence of cancer, were incontrovertibly the most remarkable groundbreaking events. Consequently, the trend of less surgery and more multimodality therapy began. The introduction of radioautography, mammography, ultrasonography, computed tomography, Papanicolaou smear, and other novel laboratory tests furthered early detection of cancer and refined accurate diagnosis. The unequivocal linking of lung cancer to cigarette smoking made medical history. The delineation of the potential role of oncogenes adduced new thoughts about oncogenesis and cancer prevention, and pathologists finalized the classification and nosology of tumors. Finally, it is worth noting that although more advances were made in the detection, diagnosis, and treatment of cancers than any other period in history, the overall mortality rate of patients with cancer remained high and unchanged.


history of cancer; history of cancer epidemiology and cancer institutions; history of cancer research; history of cytopathology; history of diagnostic radiology; history of immunology; history of medical oncology; history of radiation therapy; history of surgical oncology; history of surgical pathology

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