It is well to understand that X-ray treatment of uterine cancer is, like every other therapeutic measure used in this condition, somewhat limited. When X-rays are used exclusively, they will not cure except when the disease is still localized. Patients showing regional – i. e., gland involvement – are not favorable subjects, and therefore strictly curative effects should not be expected in these cases. The same can be said for cases which exhibit cancer cachexia. No therapeutic agent known to-day should be expected to cure such cases.
We shall also do well to remember that, in cases deemed suitable for X-ray treatment, the X-ray is seldom used all by itself; certain surgical procedures should be used in order that the best ultimate results may be obtained. Furthermore, as most cases referred for X-ray therapy belong, as a rule, to the hopeless or inoperable class, in which the chance for cure is very remote by any method of treatment, it is wrong to suppose that X-ray treatment will produce magical curative results.
Conservative X-ray operators do not claim that the X-ray is the sole agent for the treatment of cancer, but they do claim that, as the present time, enough cases have been under observation for a long enough period of time to allow us to state that X-ray treatment of uterine cancer is of considerable importance, and should therefore demand our careful consideration.
Medical literature records a large number of clinical cures and quite a few absolute cures. Reliable observers have made these reports, and so they should not be questioned. The different in results, as observed in present – day reports, when compared with those of several years ago, is due to a better understanding of the subject. To-day we select our cases and at the same time use a better technique.
Surgery, as an exclusive means for eradicating uterine cancer, is not so successful that we can afford to neglect the aid which other therapeutic agents may offer. Conservative gynaecological surgeons state that 50 per cent. of all cases of cancer of the uterus come too late for ideal operative work, and of the operable cases only 50 per cent, are symptomatically cured following the use of the knife and actual cautery. This would indicate that the usual surgical measures need considerable assistance.
The surgeon must not ignore the fact that the X-ray is a powerful remedy which can be used following surgical operations in uterine cancer to make recovery more sure and also more rapid. Surgery can assimilate the therapeutic properties of the X-ray without losing one iota of credit. The X-ray aids surgical procedures – it does not supplant them. With the help of the X- ray the surgeon will do many things which he could not do before.