The views and procedures of treating cancer through surgeries date back thousands of years where some of the greatest minds in medicine came together often to discuss their findings. Treatments of cancers through surgical procedures can be seen discussed in books from around the 2nd century where ancient physicians and surgeons like Galen and Celsus, wrote notes on the difficulties and findings they discovered while doing surgeries. Medicine and health in many ancient civilizations flourished, but cancer treatment progressed very slowly. Here are some milestones for surgical cancer treatments and how they paved the way for success for cancer treatment NJ specialists.
The surgical approach to cancer treatment during the early centuries faced many pitfalls. If a person was diagnosed with cancer, a lot of times it was viewed as incurable and the surgeries would do more harm than good. Mainly, this was due to ancient techniques and a lack of advancement in certain medicines. Many complications like blood loss would occur during surgeries in the ancient world. Major advancements in general and cancer surgery didn’t occur until about the 19th century.
The Discovery of Anesthesia
A major event that occurred during the 1800s was the discovery of anesthesia. Many world-renowned surgeons existed prior to anesthesia, but the availability of anesthesia allowed for surgical work to advance very rapidly in the 1800s. Due to this discovery, three main surgeons from around the world stood out for their findings and approaches to cancer surgery.
William Halsted, a top professor of surgery at John Hopkins University, developed the surgical procedure of radical mastectomy towards the end of the 1800s. This development is derived from the idea that cancer spreads outward based on its original growth. Radical mastectomy became the basis of cancer surgery for more than a century until clinical trials showed less extensive surgery can be just as effective in the 1970s. Today, radical mastectomies are no longer performed. A lot of these radical cancer surgeries developed were based on Halsted’s findings and Sampson Handley’s studies on the characteristics of cancer in London.
While Halsted and Handley were testing their own theories, another famous English surgeon, Stephen Paget, was releasing studies that detail how cancer can be spread through the bloodstream of patients. At the time, this was the first mention of this claim in the study of cancer. Paget’s claims proved to be revolutionary and provided a foundation for modern molecular biology which is used to treat cancer today.
Advancements in Technical Expertise
During the tail end of the 1900s, many surgeons refined their skills and developed great expertise in the minimization of tissue removal during cancer operations. The trend shifted away from large surgeries to more precise, detailed surgeries that minimized harm and maximized treatment for patients. A better understanding of the disease and improvements of technical instruments allowed for surgeries to achieve great results without large removals of tissue, bones, and more.
Development of Imaging Software
At the turn of the 21st century, imaging tests became more and more refined which allowed for a lot more information to be collected prior to surgeries and after. Imaging software and tests such as ultrasounds, CT scans, MRIs, PET scans, and much more replaced exploratory operations with solutions that allowed surgeons to have more information before determining the best course of treatment. Not only did it help with surgeries, but these advancements helped with cancer prevention and monitoring as well.
In today’s world, the future of cancer surgery is becoming more advanced than ever before. Technology continues to improve on the ability to remove cancer growths with the minimization of surgical trauma. Robotic surgery is being used for several types of cancer that have allowed surgeons to improve their abilities further. As technology and mechanics continue this trend up, surgical processes will only become more and more effective.
If you have any questions regarding cancer treatment and aftercare, please reach out to Comprehensive Cancer & Hematology Specialists at 856-435-1777!