On The Meaning Of The Word “Cancer” In Celsus And His References To Malignant Disease
Under this term Celsus includes several entirely different diseases. The word “canker” has been used in the translation, as the conditions referred to do not, as far as we can judge, include the disease now generally known as cancer.a
He includes under this name:
- (1) Septic and foul ulcerations.
- (2) Erysipelas and Ignis Sacer.
- (3) Gangrene.
(1) In Book V. 26. 31 Celsus describes the general characteristics of septic ulcerations.b He had noted early in his work that they occur especially in wounds
- aThe descriptions given by Celsus are not very clear and often apply to more than one disease, so that it is not possible to be certain on this point.
- bThe description is confused by the addition of symptoms of erysipelas and gangrene, which no doubt often complicated such cases. These ulcers arose in injuries of long standing (VIII. 2. 1). The Greek name was σηπεδών (Hippocrates IV. 126, 128, Aphorisms iii. 16, 21).