Download A Woman’s Disease: The History of Cervical Cancer by Ilana Lowy PDF

By Ilana Lowy

Cervical melanoma is an emotive sickness with a number of connotations. It has stood for the horror of melanoma, the curse of femininity, the wish of state-of-the-art scientific applied sciences and the promise of screening for malignant tumours. for a very long time, this disorder used to be pointed out with the main dreaded elements of malignancies: lengthy invalidity and persistent discomfort, but in addition actual degradation, disgrace and social isolation. Cervical melanoma displayed in parallel the hazards of being a girl.

In the 20 th century, suggestions before everything constructed to manage cervical melanoma - radiotherapy and radium remedy, exfoliate cytology (Pap smear), homogenisation of the 'staging' of tumours, mass campaigns for an early detection of precancerous lesions of the cervix - set criteria for analysis, therapy and prevention of alternative malignancies. within the overdue twentieth century, cervical melanoma underwent one other vital switch. With the demonstrate of the function of chosen strands of HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) within the genesis of this malignancy, it used to be reworked right into a sexually transmitted ailment. This new knowing of cervical melanoma associated it extra firmly with way of life offerings, and therefore elevated the risk of stigmatisation of sufferers; nevertheless it opened the chance for effective prevention of this malignancy via vaccination.

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Extra resources for A Woman’s Disease: The History of Cervical Cancer

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In addition, however, many women with cancer of the womb suffered from violent and frightening haemorrhages and discharged foul-smelling secretions. The latter symptom occasionally led to social isolation of sufferers and increased their despair. Doctors proposed local treatments to reduce offensive odours of vaginal 31 a wom an’s dise ase secretions, such as douching with astringent or deodorizing lotions and tampons and pessaries imbibed with such lotions. They employed alum, ergot, chlorine compounds (chlorates of lime, zinc, iron, and potash), thymol, carbolic acid, and tincture of iodine.

Sceptical colleagues who contested their results argued that many of the presumably ‘cured’ women suffered in fact from a non-malignant gynaecological ailment. Microscopic diagnosis of cancer helped to settle such controversies. 9 In the early twentieth century many leading hospitals adopted the principle of a systematic microscopic diagnosis of malignant tumours of the uterus. They performed biopsies of cervical lesions to find out whether they were malignant, and diagnostic curettages to detect suspected cancerous changes.

5 Vaginal versus abdominal operation In the 1880s a US surgeon from Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, William Stewart Halsted (1852–1922), developed a new treatment for cancer of the breast: radical mastectomy. This mutilating surgery, which included the excision of the breast, regional lymph nodes, and part of the chest’s muscles, became rapidly the standard operation for breast cancer. In the mid 1890s, two surgeons from Johns Hopkins Hospital, John Clerk and Howard Kelly, proposed a more extensive version of Freund’s abdominal hysterectomy, which included removal of the uterus, part of the vagina, ovaries, fallopian tubes, and abdominal lymph nodes.

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