History of Surgical Treatment of Breast Cancer – Empiricism and Science

  • Luiz Damas Mora Ex-Director do Serviço de Cirurgia do Hospital do Desterro (Hospitais Civis de Lisboa); Presidente do Capítulo da História da Cirurgia Portuguesa da SPC; Presidente da Comissão do Património Cultural do Centro Hospitalar de Lisboa Central. Portugal


The history of the surgical treatment of breast cancer is very demonstrative of how the truth in medicine is circumstantial and that the way to go towards achieving it is hard. It also shows how over the centuries empiricism gives way to the scientific method, and how prospective, controlled, randomized studies determine the change of the concepts and the consequent modification of surgical techniques. These techniques range from the barbarian ,in the current concepts, methods from the ancient Greece extending bind to the discovery of anesthesia – that stand out names such as Henri de Mondeville, Guy de Chaulliac and Lanfranco, in the Middle Age, von Hilden and Ambroise Paré in the Renaissance, orH.F. Le Dran, J.L. Petit and Benjamin Bell, in the Enlightenment period – just to more and more meticulous and rational surgical techniques in Contemporary Age dues successively to James Paget, Charles Moore, William Stewart Halsted, William and Richard Handley, Geoffrey Keynes, Robert McWhirter, George Crile Jr., Cushman Haagensen, Dahl-Iversen, Jerome Urban, David Patey, Bernard Fisher and Umberto Veronesi, among others, who were able to create new paradigms in the History of surgical treatment of Breast Cancer, until achieving the current practice of conservative surgery (breast and axillary) with reconstruction.

Keywords: Breast Cancer, Surgery, History. 


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How to Cite
MORA, Luiz Damas. History of Surgical Treatment of Breast Cancer – Empiricism and Science. Revista Portuguesa de Cirurgia, [S.l.], n. 27, p. 41-58, jan. 2014. ISSN 2183-1165. Available at: <https://revista.spcir.com/index.php/spcir/article/view/340>. Date accessed: 14 june 2024.
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