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A visual history of cancer

Cancer is seen as a modern disease, but there are references to cancer going back centuries, from ancient and medieval texts to 19th-century surgical manuals. Through a selection of historical images, Agnes Arnold-Forster explores changing attitudes and treatments towards the disease.

Words by Dr Agnes Arnold-Forster

  • In pictures

About the author

Black and white, head and shoulders portrait of Dr Agnes Arnold-Forster.

Dr Agnes Arnold-Forster

Dr Agnes Arnold-Forster is a writer and historian of healthcare, work and the emotions. She is the author of ‘The Cancer Problem’ and is currently working on a Wellcome Trust-funded project called ‘Healthy Scepticism’, which explores mistrust in medicine both past and present.