The actual history of skin cancer

The actual history of skin cancer has been documented for a long time.

A discovery of skin cancer was found on some 2400 year old mummies in Peru. 

In 1787, a Scottish surgeon and anatomist, John Hunter, was the first person recorded to ever actually operate on a lesion thought to be skin cancer.

Hunter didn’t know what it was that he was looking at and said it looked like a “cancerous fungus excrescense”, basically a fungus and cancerous.

I find it amazing that this same skin tissue was so very well preserved through the years that scientists were able to examine it in 1968 and they confirmed it as melanoma.

A French physician, Rene Laennec was the first to identify melanoma skin cancer as a disease.

In 1804 he spoke about it in a lecture and it is believed and accepted that he was the first one to name it melanoma. Laennec’s findings were published in 1806.

 Back in 1840, a doctor named Samuel Cooper reported that, during the advanced stage, melanoma was basically untreatable. From that time to this present day there has been little progress in the medical arena, therefore the same situation remains basically true today.
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History of skin cancer takes us to the Renaissance period

The Renaissance period began in the 15th century and during this time the study of cancer began.

Scientists like Gallileo and Newton developed a greater understanding of the human body. They developed a method of study known as autopsies.

Harvey, who performed these autopsies in 1628, opened the door to understanding how blood flows through the heart and body.

Later on, in 1761, Giovanni Morgagni of Padua began performing autopsies routinely to understand better the cause of death. It was from these routinely performed autopsies that the foundation was laid for scientific oncology which is the study of cancer.

It was the Scottish surgeon, John Hunter (1728-1793) who realized that some cancers might be cured by surgery.

If the tumor or lesion had not spread to healthy, surrounding tissue and was "moveable" he said, "There is no impropriety in removing it."
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Links related to Actual History of Skin Cancer:

Family History of Skin Cancer

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Updated July 1, 2015


Hi! My name is Nick and I’m 56 yrs. old and this is part of my story. Let me tell you, I was like a lot of people out there and I had no idea that skin cancer was anything bad. I had Basal cell back in 2007, but that was no big deal and it was removed and that was the end of that. No one told me that it was a type of skin cancer (I looked it up on my computer). But still no big deal, it would not kill me.
But I did know the word "Melanoma"....." --by Nick

Read more of Nick's Story

Scared to Death!!! - by Shelly

Our Cancer Stories are so similar, mine and Gary's! - by Valerie  

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Bottom Line
The Weather Channel has done well posting this information and photos to help you spot skin cancer, including melanoma.
It can be hard to spot, even for a professional.
The bottom line is to get an expert's opinion about any suspicious mole or lesion on your skin. If necessary, get a second opinion  and/or request a biopsy. it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Don’t put your very life at risk!