By Ilana Lowy
Cervical melanoma is an emotive illness with a number of connotations. It has stood for the horror of melanoma, the curse of femininity, the wish of state of the art clinical applied sciences and the promise of screening for malignant tumours. for a very long time, this disorder was once pointed out with the main dreaded facets of malignancies: lengthy invalidity and persistent ache, but additionally actual degradation, disgrace and social isolation. Cervical melanoma displayed in parallel the hazards of being a lady.
In the 20 th century, strategies at the start built to regulate cervical melanoma - radiotherapy and radium treatment, exfoliate cytology (Pap smear), homogenisation of the 'staging' of tumours, mass campaigns for an early detection of precancerous lesions of the cervix - set criteria for prognosis, remedy and prevention of different malignancies. within the overdue twentieth century, cervical melanoma underwent one other vital switch. With the reveal of the position of chosen strands of HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) within the genesis of this malignancy, it was once remodeled right into a sexually transmitted illness. This new knowing of cervical melanoma associated it extra firmly with way of life offerings, and therefore elevated the chance of stigmatisation of sufferers; however it opened the prospect for effective prevention of this malignancy via vaccination.
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Additional resources for A Woman’s Disease: The History of Cervical Cancer
3 The views of Richelot and Noble were shared by many of their colleagues. At the end of the nineteenth century textbooks of gynaecology stressed that all the women with operable cancers—that is, tumours limited to the uterus—should undergo hysterectomy. Local treatments, such as cauterization or the application of antiseptic substances, once seen as an efﬁcient treatment for an early scirrhous, were redeﬁned as preparatory steps for a surgery or, alternatively, a palliative treatment which could alleviate some of the more bothersome symptoms of women with ‘inoperable’ cancer; that is, a tumour which had spread beyond the uterus.
Cauterization was extremely painful. It was nevertheless popular, because physicians believed that once the initial pain subsided a woman obtained relief from the distressing manifestations of her disease: uncontrollable blood loss and repulsive, smelly discharge. Moreover, this treatment reﬂected the prevailing understanding of the natural history of malignant tumours of the womb. Such tumours were seen as a consequence of poorly controlled inﬂammation (the term ‘tumour’ described tumefaction attributed to inﬂammation), and doctors believed that cauterization would create more active and better-deﬁned inﬂammation, and would drive the organism to heal both.
They stayed in these hospitals until their doctors declared them ‘cured’; that is, free from visible signs of sickness. 22 e ar ly history of tumours of the womb The speculum became one of the main symbols of the power of male doctors over a woman’s body. Midwives, earlier often entrusted with the task of physical examination of reproductive organs of women, were not allowed to use this instrument. Through its close association with the diagnosis of syphilis and gonorrhoea, the speculum became linked with deviant sexual behaviour.
A Woman’s Disease: The History of Cervical Cancer by Ilana Lowy