5000 Years of Fighting: A Reflection on Humanitys Struggle Against Cancer

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Amr Saleh



Cancer is an ancient illness. It has been with us for as long as we have populated Earth. The word cancer is linked to fear, hope, depression, and desperation. For thousands of years, we have struggled to understand it, cope with it, and treat it. Approaching this topic with awe, I share some of what I have learned about the biological and historical origins of cancer, primarily from two authoritative sources: from the standpoint of biology, Weinbergs textbook, The Biology of Cancer, and from the standpoint of history, Siddhartha Mukherjees Pulitzer Prize-winning book, The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer. Here, I reflect on humanitys struggle to understand and treat cancer. We have made great progress but if we are to succeed in ending this thousands-year-old struggle, we are in desperate need of novelty.