Revision of a paper read before the Connecticut Homoeopathic.
So many article discussing the nonsurgical treatment of tumors and tending to discourage the surgical appeared in medical literature a dozen or more years ago that one hoped the time might soon come when the scalpel treatment, if it were not substituted in toto, might at least be restricted to more discriminating selection than it is now. The new ideas were at once radical in thought and conservative in practice and came mostly form the “regular” school.
At one time an anti-tumor- cutting society was organized to contend against the gentlemen who wield the instruments. It was hoped that it might become the fashion to have more regard for the constitutional and imponderable elements of medical art; that medicine would create more individual investigation, therefore more humanistic interpretations and methods. But the fallacious and suppressive radium and other rays apparently have led practitioners away from this wholesome trend.
Tumors and malignancies have been reported cured principally by the manipulation of diet, as well as of noses and throats being opened up by hygienic and cultural measures, This should arrest the ear if not the hand of every medical man. On the other hand I surmise there is no department of surgery, more disappointing, at least to the patient and his friends, than extirpation of hyperplasia.
Whatever trend remains against local extirpation appears to be in direct proportion to investigation of causes and effects and inversely to the play of current surgical thought. However, each physician must settle his tumor problems according to his own vision and experience. But it cannot be emphasized too much that the homoeopathic vision deserves to be constantly cultivated and enlarged; also condensed into persistent effort. Its possibilities in viable cases are limited only by the possibilities of the prescriber himself, wild as this may sound to the skeptical ear.
That homoeopathic medicines have in the aggregate cured many tumors and that probably every physician who has long made a business of intensive prescribing has at least a few cures to his credit cannot be questioned or considered accidental. The magic of the name Burnett is partly due to his amazing success in the medicinal treatment of tumors. His contemporary, Cooper, had striking results with single drop doses of vegetable tinctures. He had the courage to say that “of all forms of Chronic disease none is so easily acted upon as the cancer”. Some of the pioneers reported cures, as have later workers, the late Peterman, for instance, and Coleman in The Journal of the American Institute of Homoeopathy.
As to your essayist, he will confess that from the beginning of his homoeopathic career he was conscious of an urgent ambition to cure tumors, but for years the opportunity to try it was almost as difficult as putting the proverbial salt on the fleeting tail. Seldom was a case seen except in transit, generally rapid transit, on the way to the surgeon. This is probably a common experience with the young prescriber. Not until he has learned to grip his patients securely and has stored up in his bones some of the confidence that is deposited from successful craftmanship can he hold these patients down and gain much success.
The medical treatment of tumors sometimes requires an apparent departure from the accepted rules of prescribing. This does not mean departure from the homoeopathic principle, merely a variation of technique. If one always “prescribes for the patient” and never prescribes for the tumor and uses only high potencies, it is probable that some stubborn articles will not budge that otherwise would.
A tumor is in some degree independent of the constitutional organism, it creates a little milieu of its own; it is next thing to a parasite, Therefore, a high potency capable of effecting general curative reaction may pass right by the tumor in a sense, and not disturb it at all, while a small dose or doses of the low potency with its coarser and more sluggish radiations may more easily be thrown toward the periphery, that is, the tumor, and give it a shaking up. It appears that those who report more cures of tumors not only adhere to the single remedy and consistent individualization, but have the knack of successfully wielding the low potency, with its more pathologic implications, as well as the high.
It is common experience to get considerable functional improvement and increase of general energy while the pathology remains unchanged. On the other hand many prescribers could testify to the salvage of damaged tissue with the use of low potencies. Looking at it from another angle it is not unreasonable to expect that by applying the principle of similia to density as well as to identity the lower potency with its lower radioactivity may react upon organic substances of low grade, that is, pathological tissue, while highly potentized medicines, those exalted to extremely fine and fluent radiation, would merely pass through without affecting it, something as, on a lower plane, the x-ray passes through soft tissue.
When tissue has become pathologic in structure the organism suffers (from the practical standpoint of prescribing) from three more or less distinct conditions. First, the pre-existing constitutional disharmony; second, the effects of loss of function in the changed tissue; third, in malignancies especially, the absorption of toxins from tissue degeneration. Here are three possible totalities to be considered.
Any one or all of these conditions may produce its own symptomatic reaction and only partially suppress the others, thus producing a mix-up of symptoms. We have to estimate which chain of symptoms is most active or immediately obstructive to the flow of vitality and which are more latent, and prescribe accordingly. The constitutional similimum occasionally may be capable of sweeping all before it, but frequently the more recent obstacles need to be removed first. Even such an imponderable obstacle as nerve or emotional tension may have to be removed before the constitutionally remedy will act.
This is what I mean by possible departure from the usual course of prescribing and what Hahnemann meant by the phrase “ton know what is curable”.
These, then are some of the material considerations which apply in solving the medicinal problems of new growths. In the present status of the medical art it takes accumulated experience and sometimes inspired guessing in addition to the practical technique to get good results with tumors. It is a special work adapted to mature experience and as much as possible, the command of leisure.
Of the cases presented I will report the quickest and therefore the most sensational cure first. If the skeptics can manage that one the others will go down without choking.
Jan. 3, 1922, Miss R., age 22, presented a hard lump in the outer segment of the left breast. It was about 2 1/2 X 1 1/2 inches, of irregular outline and not very movable. Unable to lie on left side six weeks because of soreness. Piercing pains, especially in the evening in bed and before and during menstruation. The tumor had appeared gradually following a blow fifteen months previously.
Both breasts sore before menstruation, never previous to the injury. Appendectomy two weeks previous to this examination with removal of a uterine fibroid. As a tribute to feminine psychology it may be related that Miss R. had not mentioned the tumor to the physician although suffering considerably from it while in the hospital. There was pulling and soreness in the operated region apparently caused by adhesions. Vomiting was caused by any activity besides. greatly increasing the soreness.
Here were three cardinal features: the soreness and tendency to fixation in a dense hyperplasia following an injury, soreness of the breasts at menstrual periods and abnormal fibrination in the operated region.
There were many other symptoms, of which the following are significant for interpretation, viz.:.
Sickly, sallow complexion; emaciation; lateral scoliosis.
No appetite except for pickles and salty things; thirstless; aversion to sweets; nausea and chills after taking ice-cream.
Exhausted sensation in the morning; sleepiness and tiredness after eating; depressed spirits; weeping.
What shall be done, prescribe for the constitutional symptoms? Clearly not. NOt only the tumor, but the entire process of fibrosis was in an active state, and supervening the constitutional totality. Therefore, Kali mur. 200 was prescribed. In two weeks the tumor was about 2 X 4 inch in size, and the patient could lie on that side with comfort. Two weeks later the condition seemed to be stationary. Kali mur. was then given.
A group of vesicles appeared on the abdominal scar and discharged a yellow fluid with further relief of the abdominal soreness. In six weeks from the beginning no trace of the tumor could be found. Three weeks more and a little soreness was noticed where the tumor had been. Abdominal soreness was slight. Phosphorus 500 was now given for the constitutional symptoms and five weeks later Arsenicum. The remaining soreness then disappeared and there has been no complaint since.