- George Papanicolaou, a Greek immigrant and cytopathologist, was responsible for what is now colloquially known as the “Pap smear”—undoubtedly one of the greatest advances in medicine and public health of the last century. However, his landmark research on the development of cervical cytology for the detection of precancerous lesions of the cervix (“New Cancer Diagnosis,” 1928) made a rather inauspicious debut in an unlikely venue: John Harvey Kellogg's Third Race Betterment Conference—a meeting devoted to the furtherance of the concept and implementation of eugenics.
- Ernst Wertheim was a pioneer in the history of the surgical treatment of cervical cancer. His English-language manuscript “The extended abdominal operation for carcinoma uteri (based on 500 operative cases),” which was published in 1912, detailed his standardization of the radical hysterectomy and formed the basis of the current treatment for early stage cervical cancer. We contextualize the Wertheim hysterectomy, emphasizing medical advances that allowed for its development and subsequent modification.