Life in Cancer

A full case study of a case of pylorus cancer by R.T. Cooper. …

Life in Cancer alike to other forms of Life. The indicated remedy must be found; general hints for finding it. The prescriber compared to a gardener. Case of Cancer of Pylorus that had been unsuccessfully operated on.

THE matter, then, is one of sympathetic relationship; the life of a collection of cancer cells obeys the same laws as the life of any other living body. It has come into being by a process of germination and it is to be dispersed by a force that sets agoing a similar but antagonising process. The difficulty of cure lies in the difficulty in discovering the sympathetic force.

But just as the experienced gardener knows the conditions that are most favourable for development of the energies of certain seed, so ought the experienced practitioner to know the conditions that in the diseases patient will call into activity the curative energies of his remedy.

The consideration of this aspect of the question is likely to lead to much that is controverted; it will suffice to say that I have met with very little difficulty in this particular class of diseases in arriving at the indicated remedies.

In this regard I have not allowed myself to be swayed by the teachings of the high dilutionists of the Homoeopathic School, or by the teachings of those who contend that some special symptom should constitute a key-note and that this should be our guide to the selection of the remedy; nor have I been guided by the more modern and material school, who insist that the curative dose should correspond in size with the pathogenic dose, and that no remedy can be relied on as a curative unless it has produced the actual disease for which it is prescribed.

On the contrary, I take into consideration all the bearings both of the disease tendencies and of the symptoms past and present, and in accordance with these I select my remedy.

Thus, in the case of abdominal cancer referred to, I learned before prescribing that the period came dark and in clotted lumps, that she had had a sensation of something moving inside the abdomen, with a livid complexion changing now and then to yellow, and a general feeling of pressure in the abdomen, with weighty feeling towards the womb; these, added to my general experience with the effects of this particular remedy, led me to Crocus Sativus.

But it is impossible to dwell on such particular for very long; they would by themselves fill a volume.

The physician prescribing for such cases as these may well be compared with the experienced gardener who bases his selection of the suitable soil for particular seeds upon a general experience, much of which it is impossible to communicate by word of mouth.

It is easy for the gardener to state the plain fact of having chosen a particular soil and a special season for any given seed, but he can do little more than this; he has probably forgotten the many little experiences that from time to time influenced him it may be unconsciously in his determination. His advantages over the doctor largely resided in the fact the from boyhood he has been in the habit of gardening; the doctor has never prescribed until he theoretically knew much, and practically knew nothing; until, in fact, the best part of his life was lost in acquiring the crudest theories of the actions of medicines.

To go on to actual experience. Take this case of CANCER OF THE PYLORUS, Geo. A. Murrell, aged 40, first seen by me July 22, 1898.

History. Fifteen or eighteen years subject to dyspeptic pains, and twelve years ago strained himself lifting a kitchen range; felt the strain severely below the chest, and dates his suffering from then, though even before this was dyspeptic. Was treated in the Heart Hospital under Dr., after having been an out-patient for six months previously. Here his heart was pronounced affected, with old pleuritic sounds down left side, along with ulceration of the stomach. Then as out-patient (he was discharged from Hospital end of October, 1896) was again treated, chiefly with electricity.

In the middle of January, 1898, severe pain set in between the liver and stomach and he went into West minister Hospital, the diagnosis being neuralgia of the stomach from gastric catarrh. Was discharged unrelieved; and was then seen by several other physicians, and in March was advised to go into the Cancer Hospital, Brompton, where he was operated on; the statement made to him after the operation being that adhesions had been found between the stomach and thoracic wall, with a cancerous growth and thickening of the pyloric, extremity of the duodenum, and that it was impossible to remove all the diseased tissue. Some temporary relief followed upon the operation, and he was discharged from the hospital under promise of his returning of pain reappeared.

The patient from whom these particulars are gathered, writes to me that ” The Cancer Hospital also arranged with Dr. D, a French specialist, to come over (to the Hospital) and I (the patient) consented to another operation under him; but when my case was fully explained to him he went back (to France) without doing anything, as I understood he could not do me any good.”

This was after having obtained re-admission to the hospital owing to the return of his agonising pains. After being six weeks in hospital on this second occasion he returned home, and was assured by his own doctor that everything possible had been done for him, and that he could not possibly live long, and that he must bear the pain while life lasted.

The copy of his doctor’s certificates is in my possession, dated July 19, in which it is stated that the patient “is totally unable to follow any employment.” Referred to in the Prefatory Notice.

The case,. therefore admits of no doubt as to its nature or as to its severity.

I first saw him on the evening of July 22, 1898; he was then writhing in agony on his bed, and could keep nothing long on his stomach; warm foods relieved, cold drinks aggravated.

The pains were worse at night, and began in the stomach, spreading from there to the heart and between the shoulders, as if an iron back were being forced through the stomach and chest.

The patient felt the growth to be rapidly enlarging, and pointed to the visible bulging underneath there attachment of the diaphragm, where there is marked dullness on percussion, the bulging extending to scrobiculus cordis. His tongue is red and coated towards the back, bowels confined, though sometimes has diarrhoea.

His family history is good, except that his father died at the age of 73 of gastric ulceration.

On July 27 he wrote that he had had terrible pains on Saturday the 23rd, and had vomited twice; at 6 o’clock, p.m., of this day had taken a unit dose of Ornithogalum Umbellatum, and afterwards reported that it was followed by great pains, he felt almost frantic at 3 a.m. and again at 1 p.m. when the bowels acted. At 3 a.m. he began taking 3 grains every third hour of Carbo Vegetabilis 3x. The pain, however, still kept on, and affected not alone the stomach but the whole body, and as he thought the Carbo increased the pains he left it off on the Tuesday following. On the next day he wrote me that since being under me a frothy substance comes up which gives great relief.

From this report I concluded the Ornithogalum Umbel. had touched the disease, and had acted beneficially, though restricted in its operation by the Carbo Vegetabilis. The expulsion of a frothy substance with relief was, I considered, sufficient evidence of beneficial action. For this reason I sent him Ornithogalum Umbel. again, and in unit dose. This he took on the evening of July 28, and almost immediately after began bringing up a back jell-like substances, with great relief to pain and a general improvement in his condition. Being away from town in August the patient frequently wrote me, the report on August 29 being as follows: ” I am pleased to tell you that I still keep fairly well, although at times I have great pain in the lower part of the stomach. I have also great difficulty in going to sleep, owing to the creepy sensation in my limbs. I also find that when I sit down my legs and feet go all of a creep, and I am unable to keep still, and cannot read unless I walk about. My feet also ache and swell.”

I deferred prescribing till September 9, when the same was again given, and on September 18 he writes: ” I am pleased to say the sleeplessness at night time has gradually gone away, and I can now sleep much better. I still feel pain in my left leg and foot, but not nearly so bad. I find slight pains at the bottom of my stomach, and also a little more swelling. I still feel weak and unable to walk, far at time, but of course the weather has been very trying even to strong people.

” I am pleased and thankful for the progress I have made, and have to thank you for the splendid results of your treatment. I could not possibly have lived much longer in the terrible suffering I was in.”

On September 30 I saw him, and he informed me that after the dose the feet and ankles began to swell, but gradually got better, and that a week ago the right leg felt as if it were bruised, and is now painful and angry-looking it is swollen and tense, and pits on pressure. He feels, too, when eating, as if the food chokes in the stomach; some flatus, bowels regular.

Robert Thomas Cooper
Dr. Robert Thomas Cooper (1844-1903) was an Irish homeopath. In 1866, he "settled in private practice at Southampton," [Obit, 459], moving to London in 1874. He had two busy London medical practices, one at Notting Hill and the other in Hanover Square. He was a key member of the Cooper Club named after him [Blackie, 1976, p.158]. He published Cancer & Cancer Symptoms 1900; and Lectures on Diseases of the Ears, 2nd Edition 1880. Apart from numerous articles in the Homeopathic World, mostly about materia medica, he also published a series of articles in the Dublin Medical Review.