Art review: The history of breast cancer as seen through the eyes of the artist
- By: Rachel Armstrong
It has been said that art thrives in adversity and if that is true, then Professor Michael Baum is doubly equipped to rise to the challenge that breast cancer bestows upon a patient, being both a surgeon and a practising artist.
Bridging the two cultures of science and the humanities, Professor Baum found astonishingly detailed images of women who had been disfigured by breast cancer and who had their disease captured by the brushes of artists. Also using detailed medical illustrations selected from the last two centuries that demonstrate the various theories of the causes of breast cancer, Professor Baum showed how the artists' impressions reflected the medical techniques that were in vogue at the time for treating the clinical signs. The pictures captured the puckered “peau d'orange” and “cold tumours” with a naive honesty, allowing Professor Baum's trained clinical eye to decipher how the condition was diagnosed and treated