Cancer and Personality
For thy sake, Tobacco, I Would do any thing but die.
THE NOTION THAT constitutional factors play an important part in the causation of diseases is a very ancient one. Hippocrates, who lived in the fifth century BC, described the two main types of body build we have already referred to and suggested that the pyknic type is predisposed to develop apoplexy whereas the leptosomatic type was predisposed to develop tuberculosis. Galen whom we have also already encountered suggested that cancer was more much frequent in 'melancholic' than in 'sanguine' women; thus relating disease not only to constitution but directly to personality. This notion was very much in the air during the nineteenth century, and in 1802 a group of leading physicians in England formed 'The Society for the Prevention and Cure of Cancer'. They suggested a variety of points on which they felt there was a need for further research; one of these was 'Is there a predisposing temperament ?' Much clinical research was done during the subsequent years and in 1846 W. H. Walshe, in his book Nature and Treatment of Cancer claimed that there seemed to be general agreement that 'women of high colour and sanguinous temperament were more subject to mammary cancer than those of different constitution.'
All this may come as a surprise to many people who believe that the notion of psychosomatic diseases is a fairly recent one and owes its inception to Freud and other psychoanalytic