One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Originally: cancer as a disease or disease process (now rare). In later use: = "carcinomatosis".
Mid 19th century. Probably partly from scientific Latin carcinosis (1859 or earlier; from Byzantine Greek καρκίνωσις formation of a cancerous growth from ancient Greek καρκινοῦν (passive) to suffer from cancer, to become cancerous + -ωσις), and partly from carcin- + -osis, after French carcinose, German Karzinose.
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