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June 9, 1906


JAMA. 1906;XLVI(23):1770. doi:10.1001/jama.1906.02510500034008

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In the Oration on Surgery, Dr. J. B. Bryant discusses the nature of cancer and the progress made in its treatment in recent years. Notwithstanding all that has been, and is being done, the vast amount of theorizing and the frequent announcement of alleged discoveries, the true nature of malignant disease is still, he states, an elusive mystery. The more we study the subject and the more we learn of its extent and importance the more apparent to us is our own ignorance of the essential facts of its real nature and origin. Cancer is almost universal through the higher orders of the animal kingdom, and even in the vegetable world apparently analogous conditions exist. We have evidence that cancer was known at a very early period, and that the ancient Greeks had a very good clinical idea of its nature.

Bryant states that this

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