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November 20, 1897

SURGERY ONE HUNDRED YEARS AGO.AN HISTORICAL STUDY

JAMA. 1897;XXIX(21):1061-1065. doi:10.1001/jama.1897.02440470029002i

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Abstract

XVI.—DISEASES OF THE BLOOD VESSELS, NERVES AND SKIN. NEOPLASMS.  If from the teachings concerning carcinoma we select certain principles which are adopted to show a comparison of that time with today, we must confess that in this matter the surgery of one hundred years ago corresponds to our latest scientific conclusions. Between the two lie the erroneous teachings of the humoral pathologic school and the infinite and tedious labors of the microscopists. Those fundamental principles, in which we agree with our forefathers are the following: Cancer is in the beginning a purely local affection; it must therefore be entirely and perfectly removed as early as possible. It is curable by surgery, and extirpation constitutes the only prospect of success; medicines are of no avail.The bulk of what was at that time written on carcinoma pertained to breast cancer, and it was here that those general principles found special application.

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