The Shocking History of Cancer Surgery

cancer surgery

Get ready for the jawdropping history of Cancer Surgery, detailing how carving out tumors from cancer patients has gained public acceptance over the past 500 years.

You’ll also learn about four of the most brutal and gruesome cancer surgeries ever developed.  I hope this information inspires you to ask your doctor for evidence before accepting any surgeries, for cancer or otherwise.

(Watch this video on YouTube)

Today, the surgical removal of a tumor is widely accepted by the public as beneficial and necessary. Yet it wasn’t long ago that the prevailing public attitude towards tumor resection (and other cancer treatments used today) was so disapproving and hostile that it can be difficult for people to imagine.

The great 15th century renaissance physician Paracelsus once wrote,

“It should be forbidden and severely punished to remove cancer by cutting, burning, cautery and other fiendish tortures.”

Public Attitudes Towards Cancer Surgery

How did we go from people being completely disapproving and hostile towards cancer surgery to today where it’s accepted as normal.  Everyone knows that if you’ve got a tumor, you’ve gotta cut that thing out!

In my estimation there are two reasons for this:

  1. Loss of Common Sense
  2. Lack of Knowledge of History

Reason #1: Loss of Common Sense

Let me ask you something:  When was the last time you were cut with a knife and it made you healthier?

I remember the last time I was cut with a knife.  A few years ago I accidentally cut my finger while trying to pry apart two frozen chicken breasts with a kitchen knife.  Horrible idea, I know.

Anyway, the knife ended up slicing into my finger causing some bleeding and leaving a piece of skin hanging.  I thought I might have needed stitches so I went to the hospital, and ended up sitting in the waiting room for 4 hours, thanks to Canada’s horrendous socialist medical system.  When I finally received medical attention, all they did was give me a bandaid for my finger and sent me on my way.  Waste of time! 

My point is that getting cut with the knife didn’t make me healthier I can assure you.  So why do we assume that cutting a pound of flesh off a sick person with cancer is going to make them healthier?

healthy cutting unhealthy cutting? history of cancer surgery

Everybody knows that if somebody pulls a knife on you in the street and demands you give them your wallet, that if they stab you, you could die.  And that’s you as a healthy person.  Yet a sick person with cancer, all of a sudden you’ve got somebody called a doctor wearing teal scrubs and a goofy hat, and not only does the person give them their money but they ask to be stabbed with a knife.

Reason #2: Lack of Knowledge

The Icepick Lobotomy

Did you know that in the 1960s, a surgeon named Walter Freeman crisscrossed the United States performing the “Icepick lobotomy” on mental health patients in what he called “The lobotomobile.”

Icepick lobotomy history of cancer surgery
Walter Freeman performing icepick lobotomy’s and riding around the United States in his ‘Lobotomobile’ in the 1960s.

An icepick lobotomy is a procedure in which an icepick-like instrument is inserted underneath the orbital bone just above the eyeball and in a quick scrambling motion, tissues in the prefrontal lobes of the brain are severed.

Finally in 1967, after performing 50,000 lobotomies and causing a brain hemorrhage that ended up killing a patient, the egomaniacal butcher Freeman was banned from performing the procedure.

Here’s something else you didn’t know about…

The Shocking History of Cancer Surgery

The rapid rise of cancer surgery is best illustrated by the early history of what is now Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, according to Dr. Ralph Moss in his book The Cancer Industry.

The spiritual founder of Memorial Sloan-Kettering was a famous 19th century “women’s doctor,” J. Marion Sims.  Sims received only a brief medical training before turning his hand to surgery.  Looking to extend the boundaries of surgery, Sims gathered a group of slave women, upon whom he performed experimental operations in a kind of makeshift hospital behind his house.

J marion sims history of cancer surgery
J. Marion Sims

Some of these women received as many as thirty operations in a four-year period.  According to his sympathetic biographer, these operations were said to be “little short of murderous.”

Sims then moved to New York City where he founded Women’s Hospital, which still exists to this day.  He continued performing surgeries on large numbers of women, many of whom were recent European immigrants and he even developed a select clientelle of wealthy ladies.

According to Moss, The Lady Managers (trustees) of the hospital became convinced that “the lives of all the patients in the institution were bring threatened by… mysterious experiments.”  Sims was expelled from the hospital, but was later reinstated to his position.

In 1884, Sims went on to establish the first private cancer hospital in the United States, The New York Cancer Hospital, known today as the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.  Sims was to become the first director of the hospital, but died before he had a chance to fulfill this goal.

Modern Medicine is the #1 Cause of Death

After learning that the icepick lobotomy has been performed as recently as 1967 and the insane history of cancer surgery, is it surprising to hear that modern medicine is the #1 cause of death, as found by Dr. Gary Null in his 2002 study called Death by Medicine?  No, it’s not.

According to Dr. Richard Ablin,

“Public enemy number one is the profit-before-patient ethos of the medical industry.”

The industry puts profit before healing patients.  If they heal someone with any kind of medical intervention – drugs or surgeries – that’s great.  But that’s not their goal at all.  Their only directive is to make money.  It’s their obligation to appease their investors and shareholders.  And so, according to Dr. Richard Ablin himself, it’s the medical system itself that’s causing this problem.

The Profit-Before-Patient Ethos

We’re going to look now at some simple facts and their implications.  It’s from these facts where we derive our common sense.

  1. A surgeon gets paid to cut people; if he doesn’t perform any surgeries, he can’t pay the bills.  The implications of this is that you cannot trust a surgeon.  Surgeon’s have bils to pay.  What if they have to pay the mortgage on that cottage they just bought?  Or more modestly, what if they’re trying to put their children through college or university and need to quickly save up for the money to pay for that?
  2. The more procedures a surgeon performs, the more money she makes.  Do you think based on this they might err on the side of doing the procedure, even if the patient might not need it?  Of course!  Many surgeons tend to overtreat patients.
  3. The more extreme the surgery and the more cuts involved, the more money a surgeon makes.  Another scary fact.  What it means is that surgeons tend to develop procedures and operations that involve excessive butchering.

Excessive Butchering

Speaking of excess butchering, let’s take a look at four of the most shocking cancer surgeries you’ve probably never heard of.

  1. The Commando
  2. The Whipple
  3. Total Exenteration
  4. Hemicorporectomy

The Commando

The Commando was performed on patients for tongue cancer and involved the removal of a patient’s entire mandible, or jaw.  According to one surgeon, The Commando “derived its wide acceptance and popularity from the fact that it brought to mind the slashing attack of the World War I commandos” (Crile, 1974).

The Whipple

The Whipple was a procedure for the treatment of pancreatic cancer, developed by president of the American Surgical Association and clinical director at Memorial Hospital, Dr. Allen Oldfather Whipple.

This surgery involved the removal of many organs adjacent to the affected gland, on the theory that they might be harboring nests of cancer cells (NCI, 1976).

Total Exenteration

In 1948, Dr. Alexander Brunschwig from Memorial Hospital invented an operation called Total Exenteration, which involved the removal of:

  • The rectum
  • The stomach
  • The bladder
  • Part of the liver
  • The ureter
  • All internal reproductive organs
  • The pelvic floor and wall
  • The pancreas
  • The spleen
  • The colon
  • Many blood vessels

In a New York Times article from 1969, Dr. Brunschwig himself called the operation, “A brutal and cruel procedure”
(New York Times, April 8, 1969).

The Hemicorporectomy

The ultimate operation was the hemicorporectomy, which was literally, the removal of half the body.

The hemicorporectomy was developed for the treatment of bladder or pelvic malignancy by Theodore Miller, another Memorial Hospital Surgeon, and involved the amputation of everything below the pelvis.  Many patients chose death over submitting to Miller’s operation (New York Times, November 30, 1969).

The Most Shocking Part of All

And the most shocking part of all, is this:

All of those surgeries that we just went over, are still being performed to this day.

Yes, none have been banned, and they are all still on the menu if you go visit a surgeon.  This is medical madness!  How do we went this medical madness?

A message from Surgeon Ian Harris

In 2018 I had the pleasure of interviewing Australian Surgeon Dr. Ian Harris, author of the book Surgery: The Ultimate Placebo.  At the end of the interview, I asked him his most important message that he’d like everybody in the world to know, and he said:

“The effectiveness of medicine is overestimated by those who are making the decisions and the harms are underestimated.  The doctors that sell are overestimating the benefits and underestimating the harms.  The way to correct that is to make doctors be more scientific about what they do, and also to educate the public to be more scientific about what they will have done to them.  Don’t be afraid to look up the evidence.  Ask your doctor questions.  The simplest question of all, and it sounds dumb but so many unnecessary procedures could’ve been saved by asking this single question: 

“What evidence do you have that doing this procedure to me is better than not doing it to me?”

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