- Posted by Stephen Whiteley
- On 27/10/2016
- cáncer de mama, etimología
The Origin of Two Recurrent Words in the Talk on Breast Cancer
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and while perusing news articles and campaign pages on the topic perhaps you’ve started to wonder about the world of medical language. Cancer, mammogram… where do these words come from anyway? Let’s take a look at the origin of these two recurrent words in the talk on breast cancer:
- Cancer:Way back in 400 B.C., the Greek physician Hippocrates must have seen some similarity between his patients’ tumors and crabs, because that’s exactly what he called them in Greek: karkinos. Some suggest that it may have been due to how hard a malignant tumor can be, much like the shell of a crab. Others believe the sight of swollen blood vessels stemming from the tumor may have reminded him of the creature and its 10 legs.
In 47 A.D. when the Roman Aulus Corneliu Celsus wrote his extensive medical encyclopedia, he translated the Greek word karkinos to cancer, its Latin equivalent. And so it was inherited by languages later to come.
- Mammogram:Mamma is Latin for “breast” and the suffix -gram comes from the Greek gramma, meaning “a picture or drawing”. Thus, when you bring them together you get a word meaning “an image of the breast.” While the word is formed from Latin and Greek roots, it didn’t come into use until the 1950s when Robert Egan devised an x-ray technique to examine patients and diagnose breast cancer. He published a paper in 1956 titled “Mammography”.