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Malignant Radiation of Benign Conditions

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Section on Radiation Medicine, Brown University; Providence, Rhode Island

Ann Intern Med. 1978;89(1):130-131. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-89-1-130
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Shortly after Röntgen's and Becquerel's discoveries of X rays and radioactivity, ionizing radiation was applied to the treatment of medical conditions with much enthusiasm. Therapeutic uses of ionizing radiation offered great hope. Malignancies were found to yield to these rays at a time when so little could be done for tuberculosis, scarlet fever, diphtheria, pneumonia, or infectious diarrhea. Not surprisingly, therefore, these miraculous rays were greeted with euphoria and as a panacea to treat much that afflicted mankind, even such troublesome conditions as nagging backaches and the heartbreak of psoriasis.

By the turn of the century, however, the histopathology of


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