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 desire of state-of-the-art clinical applied sciences and the promise of screening for malignant tumours. for a very long time, this sickness was once pointed out with the main dreaded facets of malignancies: lengthy invalidity and persistent discomfort, but additionally actual degradation, disgrace and social isolation. Cervical melanoma displayed in parallel the risks of being a girl.
In the twentieth century, recommendations at the start constructed to regulate 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 prognosis, therapy and prevention of different malignancies. within the overdue twentieth century, cervical melanoma underwent one other vital switch. With the exhibit of the position of chosen strands of HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) within the genesis of this malignancy, it was once reworked right into a sexually transmitted sickness. This new realizing of cervical melanoma associated it extra firmly with way of life offerings, and therefore elevated the risk of stigmatisation of sufferers; however it opened the chance for effective prevention of this malignancy via vaccination.
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Additional resources for A Woman’s Disease: The History of Cervical Cancer
In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries these mixtures were often poisonous substances—for example belladonna, hemlock, strychnine, and lead—applied with the hope of counteracting the ‘cancerous poison’ with other toxins. Lead-containing ointments were seen as an especially efﬁcient treatment of uterine malignancies. They were credited with the capacity to arrest the tumour’s growth and change vaginal secretions into ‘laudable pus’, a sign of healing. Some doctors, such as Ambroise Paré and the Dutch doctor Herman Boerhaave (1668–1738), treated cervical lesions with milder substances such as rose oil, and juices of pomegranate, leek, and lettuce.
According to the second view, this disease always started as a local lesion which only in its second stage spread to other parts of the body. ’4 The ‘local-to-general’ hypothesis assumed a continuity between a local ‘sore’ and a full-ﬂedged cancer. It also assumed that treatment of such a local lesion could prevent the 24 e ar ly history of tumours of the womb development of a malignant tumour. The latter view, already present in early nineteenth century, was the ﬁrst version of the slogan diligently promoted by many cancer experts and cancer organizations in the twentieth century: cancer can be cured if treated early.
Radical surgical solutions in the late nineteenth century The 1870s and 1880s were a period of rapid expansion of surgery. The development of anaesthesia and antisepsis, then of asepsis, encouraged surgeons to attempt more daring surgical operations. The success of some types of abdominal surgery, such as appendicitis, and of gynaecological operations, such as ablation of the ovaries, renewed the interest in surgical approaches to the cure of uterine tumours. At ﬁrst surgeons’ efforts were focused on amputation of the cervix.
A Woman’s Disease: The History of Cervical Cancer by Ilana Lowy