History, Types, Symptoms & More

Brief History Of Breast Cancer

1600 BC

The first historical record of breast cancer comes from ancient Egypt, around 1600 BC,. There were 8 cases of tumors and ulcers described in some detail.

548 AD

In Byzantine Greece, the court physician Aethios of Amida  proposed and performed the first mastectomy on Theodora.


The first surgeon to perform breast tissue, lymph nodes and underlying chest muscle was French Surgeon Jean Louis Petit.


In 1882, William Stewart set what became a long time standard for radical mastectomy. His technique remained the standard operation to treat breast cancer until the 1970’s


The birth of mammograms. in 1895 the first X-ray was taken. Eventually, low-dose X-rays called mammograms will be used to detect breast cancer.


The first breast cancer clinical study conducted by Janet Lane – Claypon


Druing the 1930’s staging systems are developed. In 1932, a new approach to the mastectomy is developed, which was less disfiguring and become the new standard.


Radiation therapy is introduced in breast cancer therapy. It’s used in addition to surgery to spare the breast. After removing the tumor, needles with radium are placed in the breast and near lymph nodes.


After the second World War, chemotherapy is developed and became integral part of breast cancer treatments to this day.


The very first peer to peer support group called “Reach and Recovery” started to provide post-mastectomy visits to in-hospital patient survivors.


“Our Bodies, Ourselves,” long been regarded as the Women’s Health Bible was published. It had a major impact on how breast cancer was perceived and provided invaluable information to women about health and sexuality. 


Betty Ford, First Lady, set a new milestone on awareness. She decided to openly talk about her disease, bringing inspiration and hope to many other survivors.  Since them, other survivors have shared their journey. 



 In 1976, Fisher published results using simpler breast-conserving surgery followed by radiation or chemotherapy. He noted that these were just as effective as radical mastectomy.


The drug tamoxifen is approved by  FDA for use in breast cancer treatment. Tamoxifen is an antiestrogen drug originally developed for birth control. It was the first in a new class of drugs called selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs) used against cancer.


Researchers discovered a new gene in rats. The human version, called HER2, was found to be linked with more aggressive breast cancer when overexpressed. The HER2-positive breast cancer is not as responsive to treatments.


Researchers discovered that women with early-stage breast cancer who were treated with a lumpectomy and radiation have similar survival rates to women treated with only a mastectomy.


The Breast Book was published by Susan Love. It became the go to source for women facing breast cancer to this day.


The Pink Ribbon appears for the first time in connection with breast cancer. In 1992 it was adopted as the official Breast Cancer Symbol by the National Breast Cancer Awareness Month


Fashion Model Matuschka brought awareness to a new level when she posed on the cover of the New York Times Magazine exposing her mastectomy scar.


Scientists discovered how to clone the tumor suppressor genes BRCA1 and BRCA2. Inherited mutations in these genes can predict an increased risk of breast cancer.


 Tamoxifen is found to decrease the risk of developing breast cancer in at-risk women by 50 percent. It’s now approved by the FDA for use as a preventive therapy. Trastuzumab, a drug used to target cancer cells over-producing HER2, is also approved by the FDA.


The Women Health Initiative trail proved the efficacy of Hormone Replacement therapy in increasing breast cancer incidence.


The drug raloxifene is found to reduce breast cancer risk for postmenopausal women who have higher risk. The drug has a lower chance of serious side effects when compared with tamoxifen.




The White House was decorated in Pink for the first time in order to honor the National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.


The 3rd week of October was established as the “Male Breast Cancer Awareness Week” globally. 

Common Symptoms
Breast Cancer

Important Facts

Death Rates

Celebrities Who Fought & Beat Breast Cancer

Cynthia Nixon

Emmy Award Winning Actress

Sandra Day O'Connor

Former Supreme Court Justice

Nancy Reagan

Former U.S. First Lady



Nancy Brinker

Susan G. Komen Non-Profit Organization Founder

Kylie Minogue

Grammy Award Winner & Actress

Sheryl Crown

Grammy Award Winner 


Eddie Falco

Golden Globe Winning Actress

Carly Simon

Award winner Singer  



Robin Roberts

Good Morning America Anchor

Olivia newton-John

Grammy Award Winner & Actress