November 30, 2023

Athens News

News in English from Greece

In everything "guilty" Hippocrates: why is oncology called "cancer"

Cancer is one of the most serious health problems in developed countries, and statistics show that it is the second most common cause of death after cardiovascular disease.

Of course, the term “cancer” does not describe a disease, but a group of diseases, the cause of which is at the cellular level. The term refers to the excess, spontaneous growth of cells in the body that was normal before the onset of the process of carcinogenesis. Organically, cancer is a disease of cells.

Unlike normal cells in our body, which grow, divide and die in a highly controlled mannercancer cells differ in that continue to share uncontrollably. This leads to the growth of a mass of cells called a tumor. Tumors can be benign or malignant.

Hippocrates was the first to call this disease “cancer”. The father of medicine used the terms “cancer” and “carcinoma” to describe various tumors “with internal or external ulcers and edema.”

In other words, he compared them with crayfish (με καβούρια, καρκίνοι στα αρχαία ελληνικά), as they were called in ancient Greek, since the radial metastases of cancer cells resemble the paws and claws of crustaceans (crayfish, crabs).

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