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Revista chilena de enfermedades respiratorias

versión On-line ISSN 0717-7348


UNDURRAGA P, Alvaro. Hernán Alessandri lecture 2011: History of lung cancer: another monster created by mankind. Rev. chil. enferm. respir. [online]. 2012, vol.28, n.1, pp.35-50. ISSN 0717-7348.

In Profesor Alessandri's days lung cancer cases in Chile and all over the world were very few. In German medical papers in the third decade of XXth century some relationship between lung cancer and smoking habits was reported but only in the middle of the century medical literature reported evidences about this relationship. Smoking habit become universal in the XXth century. Medical community and public opinion were formally informed about the danger of smoking, for the first time in USA, in 1964 in the first Report of General Surgeon. Nowadays lung cancer is the cause of death of2,500 Chileans a year and over one million all over the world. Thoracic X rays and rigid bronchoscopy were for long time the only diagnostic methods in lung cancer. Today we have a lot of sophisticated tools that are mentioned in this paper. Surgery was and continues being the principal therapeutic weapon against the disease. The first surgical intervention performed was a pneumonectomy whose history is related in this review. Several other therapies are available in our days for the disease. A section of this paper is reserved to analyse patients and the disease. A very touching testimony of a poet written when he suffered from the disease is quoted in the text. The paper finishes with a light of hope based on the new immunological and molecular methods for treatment and the radiological approaches for early diagnosis that are available today.

Palabras clave : History of medicine; lung cancer; tobacco; general surgeon report; bronchoscopy; surgery; pneumonectomy; thoracic CT scan.

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