People have known about cancer for a long, long time – there are records from Ancient Egypt describing cancer from as far back as 1600BC. I don’t think anyone knows who it was that first discovered it.
I don’t we know the exact details of the discovery of cancer, but we do know that the ancient Greeks were aware of it. In fact, the work ‘cancer’ comes from the Greek ‘carcinos’, which means ‘crab’ or ‘crayfish’. This is due to the appearance of malignant tumours when dissected.
The oldest known treatment of cancer (by surgery) is described around 1600 BC by the ancient Egyptians.
So, humans have been aware of cancer for over 3000 years! And there is still loads that we don’t know – which is why we need more people, like you, to come work in cancer research!