Oncology (General Cancer)/Cancer


Good day
I do have a tough question on cancer.
Somewhere I read that cancer is a new disease and it did not exist 150 years ago.
If this is so, how and why did cancer come about. What really causes  cancer?

Sunil Mahabir
West Miramar,Florida

This is a myth! There are descriptions of breast cancer (though sometimes called something else but easily possible to recognize by the description) from ancient times - more than 2000 years ago! Similar descriptions exist from 500-400 years ago and later. The Swedish king Charles XI who died in 1697 died of what most probably was a pancreatic cancer that had spread to his abdominal cavity. This most probable diagnosis is based on the written report of the autopsy of the king. Also cancer has been found in some Egyptian mummies more than 3000 years old and bone cancer has even been found in a few bones from dinosaurs more than 65 million years old! Why this myth can live on when we KNOW these facts is more than I can explain! Cancer is caused by genetic injuries (in the DNA). These injuries in turn have many different causes (including viruses, chemicals - including tobacco smoke and also alcohol and radiation, including UV light - skin cancer). Many of these causes are VERY ancient and have been around for millions, even billions, of years. So cancer IS ancient! But it was less common earlier. Cancer risk increases with age (more risk of DNA injuries) so most people earler when life spans usually were shorter died of other causes - infections, accidents etc. Some causes are linked to new habits. Lung cancer was unusual before cigarette smoking.

You can also reach me at: http://www.liveperson.com/professional/expert-profile.aspx?gsBMQvSJ0S4K1haAm6AtH
There is no limit to the number of questions there. Please note: NEW SITE!

Donations are also always welcome! No amount is too small, no amount is too big!  

Oncology (General Cancer)

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Claes-Gustaf Nordquist, M.D.


Questions concerning Cancer, Oncology, radiation Therapy, Tumours, Chemotherapy, Cytotoxic Drugs, Hormonal Therapy, Radiation Protection.


I'm a Doctor of Medicine and specialist in Medical Oncology and Radiation Therapy educated & trained in Sweden. Now retired. Background in Radiation Therapy, Medical Oncology, Radiation Protection, Nuclear Medicine, Diagnostic Radiology, Gynecological Oncology, Clinical Pathology, Clinical Cytology,Hematology and Internal Medicine. M.D. from the faculty of medicine, Royal Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden. Have also been an exchange student at the Hebrew University, Hadassah Medical School, Jerusalem Israel. Former medical consultant, Swedish National Board of Radiation Protection. Former Police Surgeon and Medical Examiner, Stockholm Police Department. Former Chief Medical Officer, The Royal Guards, The Royal Horse Guards and the Royal Household Brigade, Royal Swedish Army Medical Corps. You can also reach me on: http://www.lifestylerescue.com/expert/health-fitness-advice/dr-claes-gustaf/128 I have no restrictions in the number of questions there. I also answer questions in these other categories: General History, Military History, Brain Tumors, Breast Cancer, Colon Cancer

I'm a medical doctor and specialist in medical oncology and radiation therapy

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.