THERE are few homoeopathic practitioners of any wide experience who have not seen tumours decease in size and disappear altogether under treatment by medicine, but there are still fewer who start out with the determination to treat with medicine every case of tumour which comes under their care. And yet, if tumours are curable by means of medicine, it is by far the most pleasant and scientific way of dealing with them. As homoeopaths have done infinitely more of this kind of work than practitioners of the other school, I think it important for every homoeopathic practitioner to put on record his experience for the help and guidance of others.
For it must be admitted that the cure of tumours by medicine is not always easy. The method of the surgeon which removes the lump is far more expeditious, and appeals with considerable force to the imagination of the majority. I am not going to attempt to draw a line between the province of the surgeon and the province of the physician in the treatment of tumours. That is a line which does not exist; or, rather, it is a line which every physician and every surgeon must draw for himself. My own part in these pages will be to show what has been done from the physician’s side, and, as far as possible, what may be done and how it may be done.
There is no one in late years who has cured more cases of tumour, cancer included, than the late Dr. Compton Burnett; but even he knew when to avail himself of the surgeon’s art, and it was as an ancillary to medicine, not as its master.
Dr. Burnett maintained that in the majority of cases of tumour, the finer symptoms available for basing a homoeopathic prescription upon were often lacking. It was necessary, therefore. There were two sources from which he obtained his tumour-curing remedies, and of these one was the class of remedies known as organ-remedies. In these remedies the similarity lies chiefly in the locality and direction or action. The other source of curative remedies he found in the nosodes,. and especially the nosodes of cancer. Burnett may be said to be almost the creator of the remedies that were especially prepared from his specimens that I have chiefly used in my work during later years.
But in addition to these remedies, a third source has been opened by the late Dr. Robert Cooper, in the remedies he named “Arborivital.” These are remedies, many of them old members of the Materia Medica, prepared from fresh specimens by himself, and administered in unit doses of the tincture. Dr. Cooper’s son, Dr Le Hunte Cooper, has continued his father’s work with conspicuous success.
Symptom-correspondence does sometimes suffice to reveal the remedies, so that we have four means at our disposal to find a remedy for any case:-
(1) Exact symptom-correspondence.
(3) Diathetic homoeopathy, including (a) nosodes, especially nosodes of cancer; (b) constitutional homoeopathic remedies; (c) specific taint remedies, like Thuja, in cases of vaccinosis.
(4) The “Arborivital” method of Cooper.
With this very wide range of selection, the homoeopathic physician is in a vastly better position for coping with cases of the kind than n is his allopathic brother. There is no excuse for him to yield the surgeon precedence in the matter, though he may be glad to avail himself of the surgeon’s help when occasion demands.
It is not within my present purpose to make any attempt to exactly differentiate between tumours of different kinds, not even between malignant and non-malignant. Nature herself has not drawn any hard-and-fast line, and for that matter neither have remedies. I shall be able to give instances of tumours, undoubtedly innocent, cured by cancer nosodes; and, on the other hand, I can give cases of undoubtedly malignant growths cured by vegetable remedies.
There was a very thoughtful paper by Mr. W. H. Clayton Greene, F.R.C.S., published in the Medical Press of May 23rd, 1906, and communicated originally to the Harveian Society, called “Simple Tumours, and their relation to Malignant Disease.” From this paper I will take the liberty of making a few quotations.
“We have been accustomed,” says Me Greene,”for a long time to divide our new growths into two classes-simple and malignant by means of a hypothetical border line, but we have not as yet been able satisfactorily to ascertain those factors which lead to the transgression of this imperceptible barrier and which institute a malignant change.
“During the last few years the limelight of experimental research has been turned upon the various forms of malignant disease, and although we have undoubtedly learned many important details with regard to their structure and method of growth, we are still in the dark as to their causation.
“While this prominent position has been occupied by tumours which are undoubtedly malignant, those growths which are still classified as simple have been left in obscurity, and we ourselves, content with text-book dicta, have come to regard them of slight importance, unlikely in most cases to influence the life of their unfortunate possessor in an adverse manner.
“It is somewhat surprising that so little attention has been directed to this subject, and how little the relationship between these simple and malignant forms of growth has been appreciated.
“A few lines are found at the end of a text-book account to suggest that a malignant degeneration may occur, but no emphasis is laid on the fact that in a surprisingly large number of cases, where undoubted malignant disease is present, it has been preceded by some local tumour formation.
“How often in cases of cancer of the breast do we obtain the history, `Oh, I had small swelling for a number of years, but I didn’t think much of it!’
“From a brief survey-ant at present I cannot boast an experience worthy of any other adjective-I would venture to formulate three axioms with respect to simple tumours.
“(1) That every simple tumour is an expression of tissue instability.
“(2) That any so-called simple tumour is potentially malignant.
“(3) That irritation is an important factor, not only in producing many forms of simple neoplasm, but in exciting them to transgress that arbitrary line of definition which separates them from malignant growths.” Again “Turning to the pathology of simple tumours, we find that they illustrate a departure from the natural conditions of a part by the over-activity of certain cells which enter into their composition.
“The standard definition of simple tumours is that they grow slowly, possess a capsule, do not recur if completely removed, and do not infiltrate. Such a definition is insufficient, inaccurate, and misleading. The rate of growth varies, and may equal that of a malignant neoplasm; the capsule is a fortuitous occurrence, depending upon the position of the tumour. Some do not possess it; while, on the other hand, a sarcoma or even a carcinoma in their early stages may possess a capsule defined enough to satisfy the most exacting critic. They do not recur if they are completely removed; not, we may add, do malignant tumours; but in the latter case the obstacles to complete extirpation are more insuperable. Again, the fact that certain of these so called innocent growths are dangerous to life from their position-papillomata of the bladder, or of the larynx- that many of them rend to ulceration, sloughing and decomposition, apart from other considerations, strongly suggests that we should reconstruct our views and definitions with regard to this group.”
Further “Simple tumours are potentially malignant, in that they, as expressions of instability, show weak spot in the body which may readily be attacked by cancerous change-many of them, from the earliest periods of their conception, tending to that end.
“Just as an infection will select that part of the body where resistance is lowered by antecedent injury or disease, or where from some developmental or anatomical reason that part is more exposed or susceptible, so cancer will select for its beginnings those regions of the body where a weakness of the tissues has been expressed by the appearance of the simple tumour, or by the ill-ordered reproduction following chronic inflammatory change. We cannot feel proud of the results of surgery as applied, to malignant disease. If these results are to be improved, attention must be paid to those conditions which precede the actual cancer. It may be taken for granted that extirpation of cancerous tumours is not the ideal treatment.”
If it is impossible, as Mr. Greene clearly shows, to draw a line between malignant and non-malignant growths, it is equally impossible to draw a line between malignant and non-malignant remedies. It is therefore essential that our indications should be sought and found in some data that are more certain than academic definitions.
Mr. Clayton Greene’s article incidentally shows the futility of seeking for “cancer remedies” i.e., remedies which shall cure all cases of cancer and not touch cases that are not cancerous. If it is impossible to define cancer satisfactorily, or to differentiate cancerous from non-cancerous growths, it is absurd to expect to find “specific” remedies for the indefinable.
All tumour production is an evidence, in Mr. Greene’s phrase, of “instability of tissue,” and therefore all remedies which have an action on tissue-formation may act as remedies in cancer. The problem is to find the remedy or remedies particularly indicated for each case.
But although there is no clear dividing line between tumours that are malignant and those that are innocent, there are certain broad features in the characterisation of cancers that are pretty definitely ascertained. That cancer is in a low degree and in a very slow way infectious, I have not any doubt. That the infective principle exists in the growth itself and in the discharge from the growth, is proved by the power of the Homoeopathic nosodes prepared from these; by the infectivity of the growth in the patient himself-infecting glands and surrounding tissues; by the experimental test of the transference of cancer from one animal to another of the same species including the human being.
Other evidences of the transmissibility of cancer are -the occurrence in married couples with a frequency greater than the law of coincidence would account for; and the existence of “cancer houses.”
An instance of this came under my notice many years ago. It occurred in a palatial house in London, owned and occupied by a well-known baronet. When the family were absent from town, the house was left in the charge of a caretaker, an old army man nd his wife. This man was taken ill in the house, and died of cancer of the stomach. Not long after, his wife died (not in this house) of the same disease. Some years later the baronet was taken ill, and died after two years’ illness,. of cancer. A years or so after this his wife died of the same disease, and their eldest son, the next baronet, followed his parents.
But cancer is a complex disease, and the formation of the tumour may be regarded as the final chapter of a series. Heredity plays an important part; contagion plays a, perhaps, sometimes less important p[art; and other factors sometimes play an all-important part quite independently, as it seems, of the other two. Blood-poisoning of many kinds may be the determining factor in the causation of cancer. I have seen cancer develop in two cases apparently as a result of blood poisoning from drains, in some of the insanitary places abroad. One was in an elderly lady, who developed a severe sore throat, not diphtheritic, but of the ordinary drain-throat type. When she returned from abroad the acute symptoms had passed away, but she was far from well, and malignant disease of the throat developed. The other case was in a young lady, who had a large uterine fibroid, but was otherwise in good health, when she was exposed to insanitary conditions in a hotel she was staying at abroad. She become unwell in an indefinite sort of way, and soon after noticed pain in her right breast, where a lump had formed.
The late Dr. R.T. Cooper was the first to point out this connection between ordinary blood-poisoning and cancer, so far as I am aware; and it was he who insisted that cancer was a disease much more easily acted on b remedies than many other less formidable maladies. the reason of this is that cancer is more prone to break down than many other diseases, and in this way its elements are, so to speak, more soluble and more easily open to attack by the “phagocytes “-the active cells which “eat up” morbid elements and carry them away in the ordinary channels of exertion.
Before leaving the subject of the nature of cancer I may mention the fact, which has been noted by many observers, that there is a pre-cancerous stage in most cancer cases which may be detected and cured if the origin is discovered in time.
Cases of intractible rheumatic pains, of indigestion which will yield to none of the ordinary indicated remedies, chronic headaches, and neuralgia.
An instance in which rheumatism was apparently changed into cancer by a heavy dose of Salicylate of Soda is given in the preface of my book on Rheumatism.
“Patients whose parents or relatives have died of cancer often have rheumatism in some form or other. If this state is properly treated by specific remedies, the tendency may be cured; if it is not properly treated, the chances are that cancer will sooner or later develop.
“One definite case of this has come under my observation. A married lady of cancerous family history was a great sufferer from rheumatism. On one occasion the pain settled in the right hip, and the doctor in attendance, an allopath, prescribed a massive dose of Salicylate if Soda which almost immediately removed the pain, and it never returned. But very soon something else appeared in the shape of a lump on the anterior border of the axilla involving the great pectoral muscle. this was cancer. The rheumatism in this lady’s case was in reality a pre-tumour stage of cancer, and might have been treated as such. The sudden arresting of the rheumatic expression of this constitutional state rapidly determined the tumour formation.”
A somewhat analogous case may be mentioned here. An unmarried lady had for years suffered from low vitality: cold hands and cold and clammy feet, and somewhat indefinite rheumatic pains in various parts of the body. Among other symptoms were, at times, great depression of spirits and a fear that she would go out of her mind. (Her father, it may be mentioned, had committed suicide.) At the age when the change of life was approaching there appeared in the right breast a nodule of scirrhus cancer; with the appearance of this, all the other symptoms improved.
Thus it not seldom happens that in the formation of the tumour the pre-cancerous symptoms clear up; and herein lies some justification for the recourse to surgery. A cancerous tumour is stored-up disease. But if the mass is excised without any attempt being made to correct the constitutional state which has led to the formation, the chances of recurrence are very great, and the actual condition is made worse instead of better.
That cancer is a disease easily cured by medicine I should be sorry to assert, but that it is easily influenced by them is most certain. In a very large number of cases it has been actually cured; in many other sit has been arrested when already developed, and prevented when taken in the formative stage. There are many remedies which have proved efficacious in the cure of cancer, and some of them I shall mention in the course of this work. But first of all I will speak of the action of nosodes.
In the old school, Dr. Colley of the United Stages has used a fluid derived from microbial cultures, and Dr. Doyen of Paris has attacked the disease by means of a nosode. or preparation derived from the disease itself. They have met with some success. The cancer nosodes of the homoeopaths are chiefly Scirrhinum, Carcinosinum, Durum, Mamillinum, Epitheliominum, Sarcominum. The first four are variants of the same nosode. Carcinosinum, Durum, Mamillinum are preparations of Dr. Burnett’s and were named by him.
It must not be imagined that the nosodes of cancer are specifics for the cure of any and every case. There are more ways than one of curing cancer, but there is no one way which is suitable for all cases. Of all the remedies for cancer, in my experience, the nosodes form the most important class, and the use of them ought to be more familiar than it is to homoeopaths themselves.