The History of Cancer is Long

The battle of living things against cancer began so long ago that its origin is lost in time. But it must have begun, in a natural environment, in which whatever life inhabited the earth, was subjected, for good or ill, to influences that had their origin in sun and storm and the ancient nature of the earth. Some of the elements of this environment created hazards to which life had to adjust or perish. The ultraviolet radiation in sunlight could cause malignancy. So could radiations from certain rocks, or arsenic washed out of soil or rocks to contaminate food or water supplies.

The environment contained these hostile elements even before there was life; yet life arose, and over the millions of years it came to exist in infinite numbers and endless variety…These natural cancer-causing agents are still a factor in producing malignancy; however, they are few in number and they belong to that ancient array of forces to which life has been accustomed, from the beginning.

With the advent of man the situation began to change, for man, alone of all forms of life, can create cancer-producing substances, which in medical terminology are called carcinogens. A few man-made carcinogens have been part of the environment for centuries. An example is soot, containing aromatic hydrocarbons. With the dawn of the industrial era, the world became a place of continuous, ever-accelerating change. Instead of the natural environments there was rapidly substituted an artificial one composed of new chemical and physical agents, many of them possessing powerful capacities for inducing biological change. Against these carcinogens which his own activities had created man had no protection, for even as his biological heritage had evolved slowly, so it adapts slowly to new conditions. As a result these powerful substances could easily penetrate the inadequate defenses of the body.

The history of cancer is long, but our recognition of the agents that produce it has been slow to mature…


Folksonomies: cancer carcinogens history of life

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Cancer:HealthCondition (0.939576 (negative:-0.794854))

Natural environment (0.957986): dbpedia | freebase
Life (0.911297): dbpedia | freebase
Ecology (0.718171): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Nature (0.657797): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Ultraviolet (0.646489): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Cancer (0.617774): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Biology (0.589481): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Environment (0.575177): dbpedia

 Silent Spring
Books, Brochures, and Chapters>Book:  Carson , Rachel (2002), Silent Spring, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Retrieved on 2015-03-07
  • Source Material []
  • Folksonomies: nature environmentalism