Microscopy and cancer diagnosis in the first half of the nineteenth century in the Netherlands The first Dutch contributions to the microscopy of malignant growths date from 1838 and 1839, the years in which Theodor Schwann and Johannes Muller in Germany published their epoch-making work. In comparison to the German publications, these Dutch treatises were definitely of poor quality. About the middle of the nineteenth century, however, two publications appeared which deserve to be remembered in the history of scientific cancerology. The first one, a book by .I.M. Schrant, gave an excellent survey of the microscopic structure of a number of benign and malignant tumours. Schrant also advocated early operation and the use of biopsy. The other was a paper by J.L.C. Schroeder van der Kolk in which the author drew attention to the fact, that cancer cells may be found in tissues which seem healthy to the naked eye. His message was that operative specimens should be examined immediately to see whether the cut sections are free from cancer cells. None of these sensible advises were followed at the time
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