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Emil Grubbe Becomes First Doctor To Treat Breast Cancer With Radiation

January 29, 2022

Today we celebrate one of the most innovative and important discoveries in medical history—the day that radiation was first used to treat breast cancer. 

Here is a bit about Emile Grubbe and his groundbreaking discovery. 


His parents immigrated to the United States, giving birth to their son Emil Herman Grubbe in Chicago. The year was January 1, 1875.

At 15 years old, he began medical studies at Northern Indiana Normal School at Valparaiso. Emil Herman Grubbe completed his formal premedical education and entered Hahnemann Medical College of Chicago in 1895, graduating from that institution in 1898.

Breast Cancer

Most people don’t know who Dr. Emil Herman Grubbe is, but on January 29, 1896, he changed history by treating a patient’s breast cancer with radiation. In 1895 Dr. Wilhelm Roentgen discovered x-rays, and in 1896 Dr. Emil Herman Grubbe successfully used them to treat a patient’s breast cancer—and proved that his method was successful by saving his patient’s life.

As previously mentioned, Dr. Emil Herman Grubbe (1875-1960) made his mark on history unusual: Treating patients with radiation therapy. Later, he established the first radiation therapy facility at South Cottage Grove Avenue in Chicago.

Dr. Grubbe

There’s no doubt that Dr. Emil Herman Grubbe was highly exceptional, being one ahead of his time. Although he frequently had a superior complex compared to his contemporaries, Dr. Herman Grubbe was colorful and vivid. Nonetheless, he defines what it means to be a self-made man, mainly in the physician field. In so doing, historians often credit Dr. Emil Herman Grubbe as the first doctor to treat breast cancer with radiation.


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