• Question: When and who discovered cancer?

    Asked by marema to Gioia, Iain, Jo, Leo, Mariam on 23 Jun 2010 in Categories: . This question was also asked by emmaandizzy, newhuish, abbynliz, bean9697, frank123rous, sciencetube145.
    • Photo: Joanna Watson

      Joanna Watson answered on 15 Jun 2010:

      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.

    • Photo: Mariam Orme

      Mariam Orme answered on 21 Jun 2010:

      I didn’t know the answer to this; thanks for asking the question, I’ve learned something new!

    • Photo: Leo Garcia

      Leo Garcia answered on 21 Jun 2010:

      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!

    • Photo: Iain Moal

      Iain Moal answered on 23 Jun 2010:

      I don’t know. It was discovered thousands of years ago, and the earliest reference to it is over 3,500 years old!