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Psychoactive drug restrictions and prohibitions have typically followed a reactionary pattern. From tobacco to LSD, the introduction of novel drugs has prompted therapeutic experimentation. Officials showed little concern until these substances also became popular recreational intoxicants.
The Oxford Handbook of the History of Medicine appears at a critical moment for medical history; in a period when its practitioners are being forced to re-evaluate their aims and agendas in the face of shifting funding priorities and disciplinary angst. Just a few years, one leading medical historian publicly declared that medical history was ‘dead’, or was at least heading that way.
The last decade has witnessed a flowering of interest in the history of women and cancer, alongside studies on the history of cancer and related topics.(1) While there might be historical trends that explain the attention paid to certain topics in medical history at particular times, the literature on the history of cancer deals with an inherently controversial disease