Surgery pp 1889-1900 | Cite as

History of Surgical Oncology

  • Walter LawrenceJr.


The history of the special interest area within general surgery that is now called surgical oncology began long before this nomenclature was conceived. It seems fair to say that the therapeutic approach to cancer, or “oncology,” has been intimately linked to the field of surgery since ancient times. Certainly, it is only in the past 100 years that there has been any useful treatment to offer the cancer patient other than an operation. Even though the effect of radiation was discovered just before the turn of the last century, this modality was only of limited clinical value until about 50 years ago. As the anticancer drugs and various hormonal alterations appeared on the scene as therapy at about the same time, we must consider all but the most recent history of oncology to be a purely surgical story.


General Surgeon Radical Mastectomy Johns Hopkins Hospital Clinical Trial Research Total Pelvic Exenteration 
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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Walter LawrenceJr.
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Surgical Oncology, Department of SurgeryVirginia Commonwealth University College of MedicineRichmondUSA

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