DIET IN CANCER; EXERCISE
It may be useful before closing this work to say a few words on diet in tumour cases, and especially in cases of cancer.
In a general way it is not found necessary to make any drastic changes from ordinary diet. For the most part, m our remedies will do their work in spite of a certain degree of laxity in feeding. But there are certain things which it is better to avoid. Dr Burnett particularised milk, pork, and salt, and in this I agree with him.
Milk and pork are both highly formative foods. They provoke rapid tissue growth, and therefore provoke the growth of abnormal ones. Moreover,. milk is especially to be avoided in breast tumours, since it is itself a breast tissue and stimulant.
What about animal diet as compared with vegetable diet? The gouty cases which I mentioned in the last chapter supply in a measure an answer to this query. It has been claimed that a vegetarian diet is a sure preventive of cancer. This claim has not been substantiated. But at the same time, in gouty cases, the palm of substituting a purin-free dietary for a meat dietary has very great advantages.
In one case in which the disease seemed to me to be getting the better of the struggle with the remedies, I put the patient on an entire fruit dietary-stopping tea and all drinks at the same time-with a marked effect in checking the progress of the disease.
In dieting patients the individual must always m, ust always be considered. It will not do to let the vitality get too low, and some patients can only maintain their vitality on an animal dietary. So long as the malady is kept well in check by remedies, no strict rules need be laid down;l but when it is advancing, everything which restricts normal tissue change should be carefully avoided tea, coffee, alcohol; and everything which promotes the formation of uric acid-meat, eggs, fish, and the pulse foods-peas, beans, and lentils. Fruits of nearly all kinds can be taken uncooked when possible. Nuts and nut foods, and cheese. I do no object to milk cooked with foods, which has a different effect from uncooked milk, and cheese is a valuable substitute for meats when meat is excluded. It is best cooked in some form, as with macaroni.
Before closing, I must say a word on another topic. In cases of this kind the issue between a fatal result and recovery often depends on an apparently trifling matter.
A person in ordinary health may overtax himself in many ways and recover from the effects; but one with a serious disease cannot do that without very great risk of the disease getting ahead of the remedies. Exercise is excellent, provided the patient is in a condition to take it; but a walk that is a quarter of a mile too long, may produce a degree of fatigue that is never recovered from. The same may be said of fresh air. Fresh air is excellent for keeping up vitality, but if it is obtained at the cost of fatigue, much more harm is done than good, and this applies to a fatiguing drive as much as to a fatiguing walk.
Patients who have tumours of the breast should particularly avoid over-exertion of the arms.
“Indigestion” is a very frequent trouble in cancer patients, and it will be well to insist that a period of not less than half an hour be devoted to rest before as well as after a meal. Fatigue is in any case injurious to those in delicate health, but it is especially bad if it is incurred just before a meal is taken. The system is in no condition to assimilate the food taken when it is in a state of exhaustion. If a period of rest before a meal is enjoined, that danger will be obviated.