Rx. Repeat.

21st. Been to the seaside to pull up; the nocturnal pain is much better; the feet are tender and swell.

Rx Repeat et Cund. O.

March 4th. Much better; right breast much more elastic; the nipple is still very much retracted.

Rx Psor. C. et Cund.

30th. The pains wake her up; she shrinks from pressure on the chest.

Rx. Ranunculus sceleratus 3x. Four drops in water night and morning.

May 4th. Has now much pain under left arm, where there is some swelling and redness.

Rx Bellis p. I.

Rx Lapis alb. 5 trit.

June 17th. Tumour decidedly smaller and better both sides.

July 22nd. Parts very tender, and there is much acidity.

Rx. Tc. Acid hippuric 6, 3iv. Five drops in water night and morning.

August 28th. Did her seemingly much good for three weeks, when she had a dreadful attack of pain.

Rx Repeat (12)

October 21st. Did her much good.

Rx. Tc. Creatine 12, 3ij. Three drops in water night and morning.

November 20th. Much better; in fact, nearly well, but has whites now badly.

February 5th, 1886. Has not been since November 20th, 1885. She says the powders then given gave her cramp in the stomach, waking per up between 12 and 2 a.m., and causing nauseous risings; pains in the feet, which are sore and tender. Left them off, and the same phenomena recurred on resuming them. Has had no medicine for a month, and these symptoms persist. When she has a stool, the faecal mass slips backwards and forwards in the rectum.

Rx. Trit. 6, Silicea gr. vj., ter die.

March 17th. The breast is nearly normal, but the womb and feet are painful.

Rx Repeat.

May 5th. Womb and feet better; gums very spongy, much waterbrash and vomiting of water.

Rx. Tc. Natrum muriaticum 12, 3iv. Five drops in water three times a day.

June 28th. Says the drops have very much upset her; gums are very blue.

September 4th.

Rx. Aconite and Silicea.

November 2nd. Breast well, gums still red and swelled and sore. Much abdominal pain from 2 to 4 a.m.

Rx. Trit. 4, Urea gr. vj., ter die.

Patient has paid me irregular visits off and on since, for gouty pains in various parts, but there is no return of the cancer.

I have given so many tedious details of this obstinate and difficult case to illustrate several points as clearly as I am able. In the first place, this case caused me to modify my previously oft-expressed opinion, that when once an operation had taken place, treatment by medicine is useless. I now known that this is not necessarily the case, but that a cure may be obtained even after an operation, and after a recurrence has begun. In the next place I again learn, and continue to insist upon, the importance of dogged perseverance in the medicinal treatment. And finally, it confirms my general practice of striking out on new therapeutic lines when the old ones do not suffice. The influence of the late Dr. Amekes teachings will be readily recognized by the learned in pharmacologic and therapeutic offshoots.

Looking now back on the whole of this case, considering all its points, the remedies that helped and those that did not, I get a comparatively clear view of its nature, which helps me in other cases. Were I asked to name its biopathology, I should say it was a hybrid union of psora, vaccinosis, chronic poisoning by pepper and tissue-gout, to which complexity there came the element trauma.


On July 5th, 1883, a lady of 73 came under my observation for a small hard tumour in her left breast. This breast had been injured thirty years ago, and gave her much trouble for a long time. For some months she had noticed its swelling and hardening. If pains a good deal; worse at night; and on moving the arm. In the preceding November there had been an eruption on the patients left leg, “large inflamed patches showed themselves”. The principal remedies used were Bellis perennis I, Psor, 30, Var, 30, Hydrastis I, and then finally Bellis I again; and on January 29th, 1885, patient was discharged cured; and she remained well, and is, I believe, alive and well at the time of going to press.

I do not give the details of this case as it is badly kept in my diary, but the foregoing contains most of the essential points, and the fine pharmacologist will readily see that the prescriptions were all more or less ex hypothesia. I might add that patient is deeply pitted with small-pox marks.


On August 13th, 1878, Mrs.–, a country clergymans wife, between 40 and 50 years of age, came under my care for a tumour of the left breast in its out and upper aspect. It was about the size of a very small hens egg, hard and very painful. It had existed for some time, and she and her husband had become very anxious about it, the more so as her mother had died of vulvar cancer (an enormous epithelioma). Perhaps I ought to say that the mother died with the cancer, as she was 82 years of age. at her death. The mother had been my patient, but she was, she averred, unable to persevere with my medicines (Thuja O, 3, and 30) as they caused her so much pain.

Patient is married, has several fine children, and has been long subject to a very severe form of leucorrhoea.

It would occupy too much space were I to give all my notes of this interesting case in detail, for she was under my treatment for this tumour about three years.

My notes begin with August 13th, 1878, and my prognosis was a serious one unless medicines could be made to prevent the disease advancing.

I began with Urkalkgneiss 4th trituration ten grains at bed- time, and soon got into trouble on its account, for my patient showed the prescription to a learned lay lady. who is the recognized stock-taker general of all the unfortunate leeches of the neighbourhood in which they dwell, and she said. “Oh, Mrs.–, I know what the doctor thinks you have the matter with you, its cancer !”.

“How do you know ?”.

“Oh, the chemist told me it was the new German cancer medicine”.

Naturally this caused my patient much and needless anxiety, but then the chemist and the learned lady must have their confidential little whisperings about the doctors doings-it is no inconsiderable part of their rather monotonous lives. But this and many other similar experiences have compelled me often to withhold the names of the remedies.

Well, Mrs.– took Grauvogls Lapis alb. (4, 5, and 6 trit.) for a number of months without any noticeable effect; the lump went on growing, and the pain getting worse.

July 26th. 1879. Acid acet.1.

August 28th. No better; very weak. Conium maculatum 3x.

This remedy was continued for about two months, and it took away the pain, but it did not lesson the size of the tumour. Then followed Carbo. an 30, which was suggested by the profound adynamia.

November 28th. No pain; and she is now stronger, but the tumour is no smaller.

Sulphur 30.

On January 6th, 1880, I received a letter telling me that the powders were finished, and that in addition to some pain in the tumour, patient had a good deal of pain in the stomach. I sent Condurango 1, and ordered her to take six drops in water three times a day.

February 24th. “A good deal of pain and uneasiness in the whole breast and shoulder and down the arm:.


April 10th. No change in the tumour; “for two or three weeks I did not feel it at all, and now I have a good deal of uneasiness, though no acute pain”.

Hydrastis1, Five drops in water night and morning.

May 19th, 1880. On this day the lady was brought by her husband to London, and they called to inform me that having continued my treatment ever since August, 1878 their friends wished for another opinion. The lady herself did not wish for any further opinion, but the husband was rather needlessly loud in demanding the opinion of at least one other, and that of Sir James Paget.

To this I declined to assent, because, said I, “What is the use of an opinion, or for the matter of that, what is the use of a barrowful of opinions ? The tumour is there; you can feel it and see it; that it is hard you can also feel; that it pains your wife knows but too well, and what possible prognosis can the men of the knife give but the everlasting old story, Oh, you must be operated upon as soon as possible.” Truth to tell, I am sick and weary of the lying statements that the knife is even any, and least of all the only cure for tumours. Not only does the knife not cure, but anyone having a tumour or lump cannot, as a rule, take a shorter road to the grave than via the knife-that is, unless it be very large, and unless the tendency to its recurrence be outrooted simultaneously with the operation, or soon thereafter.

Oftener than not, cutting out a small tumour is like pruning a vine.

But to return to my patient and her choleric husband, I absolutely declined any second opinion.

Why ?

Simply because a very considerable number of people with tumours literally die of doctors opinions, and then what is the use or value of a never so eminent a pathologist on a therapeutic point ? Just none.

Of course, I know it is said to be very unprofessional to decline an eminent colleagues co-operation in a given case. But I did it for my patients good, not for my own; and, moreover, they do the same to me when people want my opinion.

James Compton Burnett
James Compton Burnett was born on July 10, 1840 and died April 2, 1901. Dr. Burnett attended medical school in Vienna, Austria in 1865. Alfred Hawkes converted him to homeopathy in 1872 (in Glasgow). In 1876 he took his MD degree.
Burnett was one of the first to speak about vaccination triggering illness. This was discussed in his book, Vaccinosis, published in 1884. He introduced the remedy Bacillinum. He authored twenty books, including the much loved "Fifty Reason for Being a Homeopath." He was the editor of The Homoeopathic World.