Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: April 21, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963855 | Print ISBN: 9781412941860 | Online ISBN: 9781412963855| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
The term cancer is used to describe a number of related diseases in which abnormal cells grow out of control in parts of the body and spread. It has been an affliction for thousands of years; evidence of cancerous growths and tumors has been found in fossilized human remains uncovered by archaeologists and anthropologists, and also in ancient Egyptian mummies. There is a reference to cancer on a Babylonian cuneiform from about 2000 b.c.e . Atossa, the wife of Darius the Great, the King of Achaemenian Persia, was treated for breast cancer by the captive Greek physician Democedes. It was the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates who used the term carcinoma to describe these tumors. Their ability to cling to parts of the body later gained them the name cancer , which is the Latin word for crab. For this reason, the crab is often used around the world as a ...