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[Perspectives] Lung cancer

At the intellectual heart of the new scientific medicine of the late 19th century was the idea of specificity: each disease had a single specific cause, and in time medicine would generate a specific and effective cure. This idea transformed the diagnosis and treatment of infectious diseases, but through the 20th century, as the burden of mortality shifted towards chronic diseases, its limitations became abundantly clear—nowhere more so than in the case of lung cancer.