Cancer is a spectre, and patients are often willing to try anything for a cure, for a chance at life. In the 1990s, tens of thousands of women underwent bone marrow transplants in hopes of curing their breast cancer. The harsh protocol was meant to eradicate cancer from their bodies, and bring them back from the brink of death with healthy bone marrow blood stem cells. The problem? The study that promoted the treatment as a success was completely fraudulent.
William Halsted developed the radical mastectomy to try to remove as much breast tissue as possible before effective chemotherapy had been discovered. Once chemo entered the sphere of treatment, it was also just as radical through the 1990s. If you have a strong stomach, you can view the surgery in a 1930s instructional film here.