Diseases desperate grown
By desperate appliance are relieved,
Or not at all
William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act IV, Scene 3
Cancer has been treated surgically since antiquity. Following the discovery of X-rays in 1896, physicians and scientists were quick to adapt radiation as an anticancer therapy. With the development of modern systemic chemotherapy in the latter half of the 20th century, the treatment of solid tumors came to follow a “cut-burn-poison” model. In the previous chapter we covered the “poison” of chemotherapy, and we discuss the “burn” of radiation in the next. Here, we follow the previous chapter with additional history and background on some of the particular poisons ...