Iranian Journal of Pharmaceutical Research (2004): Supplement 2:
2nd International Congress on Traditional Medicine and Materia Medica
Cancer in ancient iranian medical books
Omidvari S., Montazeri A.
Iranian Institute for Health Sciences Research, Tehran, Iran
In medical history of different nations, there are numerous documents concerning cancer. The present study is an investigation in ancient books to determine the part that medicine of Iran has played in the recognition of cancer. In all 31 Iranian medical and 5 Islamic medicine books mostly from 8 to 18 cent. A.D. have been examined.
The findings showed that cancer in ancient medical books of Iran has been categorized under "swellings" and classified as "solid tumor" and "cold swelling". Like other diseases, the etiology of cancer has been related to four humours. Also the role of nutrition in cancer development has not been neglected. Concerning clinical manifestations, it has been discussed that cancer in early stages lacks clinical manifestations but with its development gradually its symptoms and signs appear. Cancer was found to be more common in women and the most common organs involved indicated as breast and uterus in women and pharynx, larynx, gut and genitalia in men. Cancer was known to be more common in cold geographical areas and outbreak was reported in autumn. To differentiate cancer from other swellings, it has been recommended that all swellings must be viewed using clinical and physical examination including examination of hardness of the mass, the adhesiveness of the mass to the affected area, pain, degree of the development of swelling, the degree of heat of the mass when it is touched, the color of the mass, peripheral vessels and those branched out, the inflammation, and sensation or lack of sensation in the affected area. Concerning the prognosis of cancer, there was an agreement on its poor prognosis but some factors were considered important. Concerning the treatment of cancer, it was believed that although there is no complete cure for cancer, the treatment of cancer (medical management, surgery, diet) should be considered in its early stages. The findings from this study indicate that in ancient Iranian medical books cancer has been thoroughly investigated from different perspectives that still have maintained their scientific merits.