MEDICINE AND SURGERY IN TUMOURS OF THE BREAST
IN my last chapter I have given instances of malignant diseases involving the intestinal tract, in all of which surgical interference had taken place. In the two cases in tract had not been interfered with, remedies were able to effect a cure. In the two instances in which the canal had been divided, although the treatment in each case afforded marked relief, a fatal result nevertheless followed.
I will now relate two cases of cancer of the breast, in both of which the breast had been removed before I saw the patient. In both of then there was recurrence of the disease-on the same side in one case, on the opposite side in the other-and in both the remedies were able to successfully meet the situation.
There is a good deal of parallelism between the two cases. Both patients are near the climacteric period. Both were subjects of neuralgia and indigestion, and one had inveterate constipation. Both had histories of phthisis in the family, with, in one case, a doubtful histories of phthisis in the family, with in one case, a doubtful history of cancer. Both had trouble in the upper extremity of the side operated upon during the treatment, and both had recurrence of old symptoms.
I will now give the cases. In the first of them there was a curious symptom-coldness of the right side of the body. I regarded this as indicating lowered vitality of the operated side. Many remedies have the symptom “coldness of one part of the body,” and among them Thuja, though Thuja’s coldness is most characteristically left-sided. But in this instance Thuja relieved this symptom in a striking way, so that right-sided coldness must be added to Thuja’s symptomatology.
CASE XII.-Cancer of Right Breast, There Operations; Recurrence.
Mrs T–, 41, tall, spare, blue eyes, rather swarthy complexion, consulted me December 21st, 1906. She had one boy, aged 10; the birth had been a difficult one, with breech presentation. Two and a half years before I say her, a lump the size of a pea had appeared in the right breast. It grew, and her local medical man, an allopath, pronounced it to be a simple cyst, and removed it in January 1906. Soon after another lump appeared, and the patient was again assured that it was quite an innocent growth, and the same practitioner performed a second operation in March of the same year. In the middle of July a third growth appeared, red and blue, and looking as if going to burst. This time her medical adviser said nothing would induce him to operate again, and she must see a specialist. He took her to Mr D-, who pronounced it to be a cyst “with cancerous growth”. He advised that she should come into a nursing that she should come into a nursing home and have the entire breast removed. This was done in July 1906. Shortly before she came to me another nodule appeared, and she was again asked to see the same specialist and get him to remove it. This time she thought see would choose her own specialist, and by a friend’s advice she came to me.
She had had enough of operations, and if she could not be cured without, she preferred to take her chance as she was.
I found a branched scar covering the are of the right breast, with one limb of it running into the axilla. the new nodule was near the end of this limb, but below it and not attached to it. The left breast was rather lumpy, the nipple was flat, and there was a gland in the axilla.
The patient used to have indigestion for years before the lump appeared, and when the lump came the indigestion got better. The indigestion consisted of pains about the splenic region, which were relieved by bringing up much wind.
She had had good health all her life. Had had influenza twice several years ago. Her father was living, aged 89. Her mother came of a phthisical family, and died from an illness which was supposed to be cancer of the bowels. Brothers and sisters were healthy.
She had been twice vaccinated, the last time just five years before. It “took,” and she had a very bad arm-the left. Her spirits used to be good before this trouble came. Is subject to neuralgia in vertex and occiput for seven or eight years; it is better from wrapping up the head and worse from any jar. She had had a wart on her tongue which disappeared after being touched with caustic.
Since the first operation she wakes at 5 A.M. with pains in right shoulder and neck. Always cold on the right side of the body. Catamenia regular; very much Leucorrhoea at times. Tongue clean. Appetite very good. Pulse 96. Used to be fond of salt. Not to eat much, and to avoid pork and milk.
B Thuja 30, about once in ten days.
January 14th, 1907-Not so cold on the right side. Has felt very well. Lost the pain in the right shoulder. Nodule about the same; tender to touch.
Rx Scirrh. 100, in the same way.
February 8th-Has had a cold in the head and chest during the last week. Pretty well otherwise. Much headache in forehead and occiput last few days. Nodule about the same; no pain in it., Small gland felt in right axilla.
Rx Silica 100, once a week.
March 8th-Cough has gone. Has had pain in right arm. This appears to be in musculo-spiral nerve. Nodule grows rather smaller. Left breast rather lumpy. Expending pain in bones of shoulder. Tongue rather skinny looking.
April 19th-The pain in the arm gets worse. It got better in the warmer weather. In the cold weather it began to swell.
At the back of the tongue is a little red patch. Head has been better. Nodule smaller and loose. Left breast very lumpy.
Rx Carcinos. 100, once in ten days.
May 21st-Swelling of arm gone down. No pain. Has felt very well. Nodule smaller. Has had another wart on the tongue. It lasted three weeks and then disappeared. She feels as if she had a bit of skin at back of throat. I found the tonsils somewhat congested and whitish.
July 12th-Has been feeling well. Swelling gone from right arm, but right index finger is still swollen and painful.
Nodule same. Rx Nat. cacodyl. gr. 1/4, one tablet three times a day immediately after meals.
August 16th-Feeling very well. Swelling on finger nearly all gone. Growth I think is smaller.
September 30th- No pains., Always feels tired. Perspires easily. Swelling quite gone from finger.
November 15th-Feeling better in herself. Three weeks ago a red spot formed near the original nodule. More sensitive under right arm. I was somewhat disconcerted to find that a second nodule had appeared in position nearer the middle line that the first.
I now ordered Phytolacca 3x, five drops three times; a day; with Scirrhin. 100, once in ten days; at bedtime. I also ordered that an should be rubbed into the axilla night and morning. This is a measure often adopted with advantage by the late Dr Cooper, and frequently confirmed by his son.
There was no further change in the treatment from that date up to the completion of the cure.
December 13th, 1907-Lump smaller, no pain in it. No rheumatism in arm. No chilliness of right side this winter.
January 18th, 1908- Lump seems smaller. Herpes on lips. Tongue rather skinny.
March 2nd-Lump nearly gone. The indigestion pain of the left side has come back.
March 23 rd-Has been very much better. All that remains of the lump is a little pimple with matter in it. When the patient called two months later the lump had absolutely disappeared, and the patient was cured of her diathesis. There is an amazing improvement in her general health and appearance.
CASE XIII.- Cancer of Right Breast; Removal; Recurrence in Left Breast.
The next case I have to relate also exemplifies the action of cancer nosodes and other homoeopathic remedies in the post operation stage of cancer. The patient, who came to me in September 1901 had had her right breast removed on July of the previous year. I will give the details of the case presently, but I may point our beforehand that it exemplifies a number of the cardinal notes of the cancer diathesis. It will also be see now closely these correspond with some of the leading features of Hahnemann’s Psora.
Especially there was the sinking sensation from 10 to 11 A.M.; obstinate constipation; soreness of the commissures of the mouth; nervousness; neuralgias, and rheumatic symptoms.
It will be seen, too, how the antipsorics work in with the cancer nosodes, and are complementary to and compatible with them.
Especially I would call attention to the complementary relation of Nat mur, to the cancer nosodes, and to the nosodes generally.
I will now give the details of the case; and though the treatment was very prolonged, I think my medical readers will prefer to have each step noted, rather than a condensed report.
Mrs B., 49, consulted me on September 11th, 1901. Two years before, her breast had been hurt by a dog jumping at her.
Nearly a year later (May 21 st, 1902 ) I heard a further piece or possible etiology in the case, which had better be mentioned here. A week before that date the patient’s right thumb had become very painful. On inquiring into the history of this I learned that the patient had had a gathered thumb two years before the breast became bad. It began soon after the death of one of her sons, who died of phthisis, aged 18. The thumb was lanced, and much “nasty stuff” came away. But the thumb remained very painful up to the time of the removal of the breast. From that time it was free from pain till the date mentioned. I refer to this as a possible “blood poisoning may have acted as the determining factor in the causation of cancer in this case. This occurred in the autumn of 1898. At Christmas 1899 the patient first noticed anything wrong with the breast. In July 1900 it was removed. For two years before the tumour was discovered, the patient had been out of health; very nervous; went cold and faint, then hot; inclined to be giddy. These symptoms were more marked a few months before the tumour was found.
The patient, who was of medium size, dark, rather florid, was subject to occipital headaches, but had been freer from them since the operation; she was also subject; to neuralgia in the face which kept her awake at nights. The commissures of the mouth were sore. This was the case before the operation, and had recurred recently. Appetite bad. Intolerance of eggs. When younger, used to have indigestion. No appetite for breakfast. Aversion to beef and mutton. Dislikes salt; is fond of ham and vinegar. She had sinking at the epigastrium from 10 to 11 A.M., and after tea. Had much flatus.
Abdominal organs normal. She was constipated, and always had been; she was in the habit of taking liquorice powder every other night. She had had three children, now aged 19, 20, and 23. The periods had always been excessive, lasting a week, and recurring every fourteen days. Used to have pain No leucorrhoea. With the second confinement had flooding, and after that inflammation of the womb from a chill. She nursed her first child three months. After the second confinement she was too ill to nurse. The third child she nursed eight months. Right breast removed in July 1900. Now she has sharp, shooting pains in left breast, and the breast is indurated.
The left arm is painful, and glands in axilla enlarged. Sleep bad; dreams badly, of falling in the water, of dead people. This is worse the last two or three years. Cold both relieves and aggravates. She is worse out of doors. Is nervous, depressed, fears solitude, and is better in company.
Her family history is as follows: Father living, 84. Mother died, aged 50, of troubles at the change. The sister died at 50, of phthisis. Three brothers died of the same disease, and so did her own eldest son. She had only been vaccinated once.
The occurrence of pain and induration in the left breast so discouraged her that she declined to have any more surgery, and put herself under may care.
I prescribed Carcinosin 100, three doses to go over the month. And to assist her over the difficulty of constipation. I also ordered Ulm. fulv. 0, gtt. x, in a wineglass of water in the morning on rising, if required.
October 7;th, 1901.-Breast much less painful. Breast feels more natural, and is somewhat smaller. She can lie down with more comfort, and move arm better. Has slept well all night through. Appetite much better Less sinking. Has had a good deal of flatulence. Bowels more confined. Stools solid, dark; but has not passed blood in stools (which used to be the case) since a few days after beginning the powders.
On waking, has headaches across the forehead. Some neuralgia in face.
Repeat Carcin. Rx Ulm. fulv. gtt. xv, in hot-water in the morning on rising.
November 4th, 1901.-Has had a cold, which seems to have aggravated the condition. Has had very bad headache in the morning, which gets better on going to bed. Pain in occiput. Pains in breast have been severe, shooting inwardly, as if a knife thrust in suddenly. Breast tender, especially the outer side, where the pain is worst. Gland felt in axilla. Appetite better; sinking less; not so faint. Bowels not so confined. Sleep good; less dreaming. Feet very cold.
Rx Sulph. 200, two doses the first week; Calcarea 200, two doses the second week; Lycopodium 200, two doses the third week.
December 9th, 1901. The head is better; bowels better, less confined-no longer requires the Ulm. fulv. drops. Appetite fair. Pain rather less. Breast better, very little pain in it; when pain is present it is a bruised feeling, towards the axilla. Mouth corners still sore. Is very nervous; jumps with every knock at the door. Feels the cold much; gets a cold feeling down the back.
Has now a new symptom crawling sensation, as if an insect were in the ear. Wakes up at night with it, and tries to get it out.
January 20th, 1902.-Crawling in ear better. Head better. Less jumping. Bowels confined, but not as bad as they were. Appetite not so good. Faint feeling not as bad. Much wind latterly, especially at night when she takes her clothes off. Period as usual. Has had a good deal of pain in sixth rib, below the breast.
Has had a bad cold. Is feeling the cold very much this year. Sleep keeps good, and the dreams are less troublesome. Mouth corners cracked.
Thinking there was probably an influenza element in the colds, I ordered Tuberculinum k.100, once a week; and also Cepa. 12, to take if a fresh cold was taken.
After this I did not see the patient for over four months.
March 12th, 1902-she reported that she had been much freer from pain; but she had had a severe cold and cough again. Breast more natural. Left corner of mouth very sore; right also, but less. The first and second powder “turned acid in the stomach, and she had acidity through the night after them.” Bowels regular, though still a little confined. Wants food at 11 A.M. Period excessive, worse when lying down. Dreaming much again.
Headache not quite so bad, cannot raise head from pillow in the morning. Still very nervous; shakes and trembles.
Rx Cundurango 1, gtt. v in a tablespoonful of water ter die. April 21st, 1902.-The drops caused the bowels to act two or three times the first day. Sores at mouth corners better, but not well. The last fortnight, breast has not been so well; it is more swollen, lumpy, and harder. No acidity. Tongue fairly clean. Appetite not so good. Much flatus upwards. spleen big. Sleep not so heavy. Headache in occiput, more in daytime or on getting out of bed in the night. Has had a trickling sensation in the heart.
Temper is bad. Gets very tired. Has no. flushings; has a sensation as if the floor was rising up. Has had no period for seven weeks. Pulse 96.
Rx Thuja 30, three doses in the month.
The flatulence, excessive tired feeling, and the irritability of temper. Besides, there were the general constitutional indications of the remedy.
May 21 st, 1902-Thuja got promptly to work. The period came on after the second day, and she felt much relieved. She felt better altogether, and the breast was smaller and less hard. Tricking sensation in the heart not so bad.
Headache bad, this time at 4 A.M.
Thuja acted very deeply, and appeared to stir up the old trouble in the thumb, for it had been the seat of severe pain during the last week of the time. The inquiries now made led to my learning the story of the gathered thumb of three years before.
June 20th, 1902-Is generally stronger. Gets through her work better than she could formerly. Can use her right arm (which had been considerably crippled since the operation) better. Can reach with it. A little pain now in left breast. Head bad at 3 A.M. (This does not occur if she omits to take a powder.)
Mouth still sore at both angles. Ear better; crawling gone. Eyes itch and ache. Thumb has got all right.
Rx Cundurango 30, three doses in the month.
July 30th, 1902-Breast very much better. Left breast quite soft and natural. No pain. Mouth rather worse this month. eyes better. No period for seven weeks. If she sits still she comes over faint. This causes palpitation, trembling, and perspiration. Hair gets wet. Can move arm better. Sleep good; fewer dreams. These powders don’t cause headache so much. Headache at 11 A.M. The thumb keeps all right.
September 15th, 1902-Has been very much better; better than for some time. Mouth nearly well. Has a bruised sensation where the lump is; on inspection there is some indentation. Except in this part, the breast is soft and natural. She feels the breast when lying down. Headache from 10 to 11 A.M. Pulse 96. Comes over in heats, but has no palpitation. Period fourteen days ago; excessive; no leucorrhoea.
October 27th, 1902-The night after taking the first powder she had much burning in the breast. On waking, her hands were stiff. Next day did not feel well.
I found a good deal of tenderness in the left breast, lower segment. Has good deal of wind; it is bad at 2 A.M. Strong acid like vinegar comes up into the throat. If she vomits, this is better. Bowels regular. Head has been very bad, as if something tied tightly round it. this makes her low-spirited. Has had one period, not quite as copious. The thumb has been painful again, pricking and throbbing.
Rx. Nat mur 30, four doses in six weeks.
December 8th, 1903-Much better. Scarcely any pain in breast. Head much better; all tight feeling gone. Spirits better. No raising of acid. Much wind in the morning.
Acidity after breakfast and after supper. The breast very much better though still slightly tender, and still a lump to be felt. In the axilla I did not find any gland on this occasion, though later out. Period once in seven weeks lasted three days. Mouth corners very much better. She feels the changes of the weather at the site of the operation whether the drainage tube was.
January 19th, 1903- Has been very well. Mouth is well. After beginning the last course, the wound began to smart-felt as if it would open. Soreness of ribs below left breast. A very small gland felt in axilla.
No period for seven weeks.
Her spirits are much better., Headache gives no trouble now; giddy feeling up to 11 A.M. Bowels a little confined.
March 9th, 1903-Has been very well. No giddy feeling. Head all right. Wakes 2A.M. three or four times a week, but goes to sleep again. Breast feels much better. Has no pain in it, but there is still a hardish bit in the upper segment, pressure on which causes acute pain. Appetite not as keen as it was; eating is rather a trouble. Has had a bad cold. Eyes are congested and painful, less so out of doors.
Period occurred just after last visit.
Repeat. Also Euphras. as lotion for eyes.
April 27th, 1903-Euphras. gave great relief to the eyes. Has had two colds. Breast rather better. Had had much constipation. Stools very difficult and very dark. Does not dream now.
Rx. Cundurango 30, four doses in six weeks.
June 24th, 1903-Bowels very much better. Stools still very dark. Tongue clean. Appetite good. Flushes much. Had one period, slight. Breast feels natural; no bruised tenderness now. Eyes just as if grit in them; worse out of doors.
The thumb has again become troublesome; cracks have appeared on the back of it; very painful when washing.
Repeat. Ruta,0, for lotion for eyes.
August 17th, 1903-Has been some time without the powders. Has had more pain in the breast the last fortnight. Very much depressed, and unable to remain in the house. (I could find no difference in the breast). Appetite gone. Bowels more confined. thumb all right. Eyes better.