Aretaeus of Cappadocia (1st/2nd - 2nd/3rd Century AD), Descriptions on Cancer

Document Type: Original Article

Authors

History of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Thessaly, Larissa,Greece

Abstract

Aretaeus of Cappadokia, lived in an era when cancer was already a disease, well known for its deadly outcome. Inside his momentous treatise, composed of 8 books, he had outlined various types of cancer. He had understood cancer’s fatality and proposed some curative treatments. Our manuscript composes the fragments related to cancer, in an effort to present Aretaeus’ views on the matter.  He had emphatically ignored the breast cancer, maybe due to fact that this was a malignancy type that could be operated with a strong change of survival according the medical knowledge of the era. On the other hand, various malignancies such as colon, hepatic and uterine cancer, attributed to the black bile (Humours theory), were thoroughly examined, establishing a valuable medical source for the future physicians to rely on.

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