Oncology (General Cancer)/Cancer Query


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

Cancer is not a new disease.  We have descriptions of breast cancer in Egyptian heiroglyphs (that's why they call it cancer, a diseased breast apparently looked like a crab).  Cancer is a lot more common now than in the past for several reasons.  First, we have cured a lot of other diseases.  Second, people live a lot longer, because of better food, sanitation, and curing disease.  Cancer is a disease that is caused because of changes in the DNA of cells, caused by cosmic rays, by toxins in the environment, and probably, just because if a cell multiplies many times, some are bound to make errors in the genetic code.  And cancer is caused by certain kinds of changes in the genetic code, changes which prevent abnormal cells from auto-destructing, which is what a normal cell does when something is wrong with DNA.  I hope this answers your question.  

Oncology (General Cancer)

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Donald Higby, M.D.


I can answer almost all questions related to the treatment and natural course of most kinds of cancer, especially cancers of prostate, colon, lung and breast.


I have been a practicing medical oncologist for 36 years, and have been chief of service at a major medical center for 25 years. I've also done research in cancer treatments.

American Society of Clinical Oncology

New England Journal of Medicine American Journal of Medicine Journal of the American Society of Clinical Oncology Hematology Transfusion Medicine

MD, Stanford University Internal Medicine residency, St. Louis University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO Medical Oncology Fellowship, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, NY

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