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.
If the first case is the most sensational the next was the most spectacular, although it had a fatal ending. In relating it I shall have to depend on memory, as the record could not be found.
A middle-aged woman had a large breast carcinoma removed by one of our good surgeons and the breast taken with it. I do not remember about glandular involvement. The area was then x-rayed several weeks or a few months. The cancerous process rapidly increased, however, until the hard, red, inflamed, nodular, ulcerating, malodorous, crusty process spread over the axilla across the back, downward upon the abdomen and somewhat across the chest. She was unable to lift the arm from the side or move it backward. She was running a temperature, was able to be about, but thrashing and sleepless at night because of pain and anxious forebodings.
Arsenicum modified this acute process decidedly, did away with the temperature and gave rest at night. Then she was put on Kali mur. 12 three or four times a day.
After several weeks, perhaps two or three months, the entire thing had disappeared and the motility of the extremity was perfect. All that remained were a few irregularities and fine crusts in the scar.
The woman now took a position in a laborers boarding house and did heavy work fourteen to sixteen hours a day in a hot kitchen. Appeals and threats were sent repeatedly by wire and mail, but to no avail. The acute process was renewed like an intense cellulitis, responded to no prescription, and carried her off in a short time, I think about two weeks.
A young lady of 18 had a fibroid of moderate size removed from the right breast. It had long roots which the surgeon had to follow up toward the axilla. The shock of this small operation was not endured well, it taking about five years for the patient to recover her former vigor. In the meantime three new lumps appeared in the right breast and two in the left. She was quite susceptible to grippe attacks, having a sluggish congestion of the right lung at one time. About ten years ago a severe attack of cholecystitis. Since then recurrent attacks of grippe and catarrhal troubles and liver and digestive disturbances.
Sulphur in all degrees up and down was the main feature of the treatment although Arsenicum, Phosphorus and Pulsatilla had to be used for acute conditions. After eight years the tumors in the left breast had disappeared and but one remained in the right, on the original site. Then pains appeared in the left breast, sharp, contracting, with constant dull ache. Both breasts swollen hard and aching before menstruation. Kali mur. 100 was given in January and in April the breasts were free from pain and the tumor gone. Digestive and catarrhal troubles persisted though her endurance gradually improved.
Three years afterward a large lump was found in the right breast, nodular, with sharp edges and fastened to the chest wall. After a few years further treatment this patient was completely cured.
The next case, fatal one, illustrates two points to be seen later. Woman of 50 years. At first a small lump in the lower segment of the left breast, freely movable, slightly tender, blood discharging from the nipple at times, history of a blow on the breast a year previous. During three years treatment progress was up and down the lump receding at times, only to advance again. There were also high tension, cardiac weakness, arthritis, pelvic and other special troubles to contend with. Lachesis, Kali mur., Calc. fluor., Carcinoma and Calc. fluor. again had specific reducing effect. Even after the axillary glands were involved Calc. fluor. 6 softened and reduced them.
Carcinoma 200 had a remarkable effect on the muddy complexion and general feeling. Another blow on the breast and the advance was rapid, the entire breast becoming hard, red and inflamed, extending into the axilla and side of the chest, with fever and general toxaemia, inability to lie down or sleep and much suffering. Lachesis 4M. was given on its familiar modalities in external infections with wonderful relief, the whole mass softening, pointing and discharging copiously like an abscess. The process ceased, the patient could lie, sleep and eat and while failing in general, remained in comparative comfort and died comfortably of oedema of the lungs.
The special features here are the marked palliation with Lachesis and the remarkable effects of potentized Carcinoma on the muddy complexion. Carcinoma has cleared up several muddy complexions for me in a wonderful way in debility with otherwise insignificant symptoms.
Woman of 29. Just discovered a lump in the right breast, about 1 X 2 inches, movable, tender, resilient hardness, soreness extending through to the scapula, < by moving the arm and before menstruation. Warm blooded Kali mur. 100, Sulphur 10M., and Kali mur. 100 again consumed six months with intervals of cessation of pain and mammary swelling, the size of the tumor remaining about the same. Then the local condition became much aggravated by cold of any kind, also general sensitiveness to cold; languid; both breasts sore from any cold, even hands in cool water; the lump larger and breasts swollen.
Magnesium phos. 900 and 5M. cured.
Negro boy of fifteen, tender lump in left breast three years, about 3/4 X 2 inch; previously had one like it in the right breast which disappeared after six months without treatment; no other symptoms or history obtainable. Kali. mur. 12 t.i.d. After a few weeks no trace remained.
Woman of 70. Large fibrous uterus many years. Suffering every night with an intense pain like sciatica. It had come after being bounced in an automobile. She could not lie at all some nights, at others was aroused after an hour or two of sleep and compelled to walk the remainder of the night. Severe pain also in the rectum and pelvis, dragging, lancinating, throbbing, shooting and other sensations, referable to the pelvic condition. This had been going on a month. Examination revealed the pelvic cavity packed solid with a soggy hard mass which extended high up into the abdomen and was absolutely immovable either above or below.
Bellis per. 6 was given every two hours. No change after twenty-four hours. Prescription changed to five drops of the mother tincture every two hours. Next day reported a few short naps but paroxysms worse when they came. The Bellis tincture was ordered to be taken every hour. Next day, the third day of treatment, the condition was decidedly improving. Next and fourth day found the lower extremities oedematous, severe burning ache in rectum, all symptoms coming on worse during sleep and waking her with severe distress. Degeneration and toxaemia was feared.
Lachesis 1M. was followed by good sleep and comparative comfort for two days. Then severe, sharp, stinging pains, abdomen bloated and sore. Bellis tincture every two hours again, continuing eight days when the tincture failed, but a dose of the 1M. lasted four days. Then the 10M. twenty-three days and again ten days, then no response even from the 50M.
Now changed to Kali mur. 12 every three hours on purely tissue considerations. Continued four weeks and when that failed one dose of the 200th.
BY this time the tumor was much reduced and movable and only slight discomforts remained.
Ten days later, new symptoms: ankles and knees weak and giving out under her; soreness in rectum; lameness of left sacral back and down left thigh; hands aching and swollen, face burning; skin inelastic, dents remaining long. Carbo an. 1M. No more trouble to date-a year and a half-though the tumor is there yet, I suppose.
Woman of 32. Hard enlargement in left axilla like a fibroid about 1 2 inches with stitching pains; discovered two years previously.
Daily headaches; backache and pain in the lower abdomen, all these of a kind having the familiar sound of Sepia 1M. and 10M.; each carried nine months. Then Psorinum 50M. six months, then Sulphur 200, the tumor at last report being merely soft, flat, firm, barely palpable. But that means that it is still there, of course.
Here is one that was quite exciting for a while. Girl of 18, nodule in left breast about 2 inch round, stony hard, sore, < before menstrual periods. Had been aware of it two years. Both breasts sore before periods. Kali mur. 200.
Pains became worse then better and tumor decreased. A month after taking this remedy constitutional symptoms appeared. Cold, clammy feet, < in the evening; easy perspiration on scalp. Calc. 10M.
Improved a month. Then reported much trouble at menstrual period. Shooting paroxysmal pains and soreness radiating across the chest and down the arm, much aggravated by cold. Spells of feeling exhausted. Magnesium phos. 9c.
Improved three months on this. Then sharp pains in both breasts and down arms, < after menstruation, < from warmth of exercise, most severe ones coming on while asleep, direction left to right. New lump growing in right breast, the first one remaining stationary. Lachesis 1M. relieved two weeks with right lump decreasing.
Then pains < by heat, soreness inside chest keeping her bent forward, oppressed as from heat, renewed soreness in left breast. Pulsatilla 10M. removed all pain and she felt so well she did not report for five months.
Then found the left tumor gone, the right and original one remained. It was irregular in shape and had a long root at the axilla extremity. Kali mur. 1M. relieved the pains, but three months later size was found to be the same. Psorinum 50M. Three months later no trace remained.
Mrs. A., 46, found a lump in the left breast two months previous. It was loose, of firm density, lobulated and tender, about 2 2 X 1 2 inches. It was said to have been soft and large a month before and grew sore as it grew smaller and harder. An enlarged, tender gland was found in the axilla. Menstruation had skipped a few times; hot flashes ascending to head; bearing down and dragging first day of period. Poor appetite in summer, faint stomach before dinner; coldness of back and feet; weeping without apparent cause. Suspicious complexion and general dragged out appearance. Sepia 1M.
Three weeks later general appearance improving and gland not palpable. A little later “flu” and Gelsemium. Two weeks later found her still debilitated. She kept about but had to sit down often. Tired and sleepy, being worse in that respect toward evening. No appetite, bundling up because of coldness, but easy perspiration; aggravation by every change of weather. Tumor softer and flatter. Psorinum 50M.
Two and one-half months later the tumor was pronounced missing, no return to date, twenty-two years.
The next case is not reported as a tumor, merely as a suspicion. A woman of 50, but appearing 20 years older, had a fiery burning in the face five years since cocaine had been used for extraction. There were intense fiery burning spells as from burning needles, beginning regularly at 4 a.m., and continuing in paroxysms throughout the day. The tongue always felt scalded. There was spray of burning fluid from the salivary glands whenever she opened the mouth.
Cold relieved, food, drink and everything had to be cold, and was worse with heat of any kind. Apis 1M.
The first night was worse, then improvement began and continued five weeks. Then an ulcer appeared, forming on the side and ulcer the tongue, extending rapidly in depth and circumference, with grayish-blue, ragged edges and irregular areola of purple color, varicosity of adjacent veins. Dr. Woodbury saw it and his comment was “suspicious”. I had seen a sore just like it a few years previous and in a few weeks the old lady who had it was dead. However, the subjective symptoms were decidedly improving, so nothing was given but Sac. lac. Six weeks later all symptoms were gone except the scar and continues so to date, five years.
Woman of 76 had an epitheliomatous looking sore on the right cheek two years, then it spread rapidly and the entire anterior portion of the cheek became inflamed, a hard lump forming in the center and crusts spreading as the inflamed area advanced. The sensations were of pricking and smarting, < at night, as if inside the cheek, a creeping feeling as if something were alive in it.
Sulphur 10M., two doses, and 50 M., one dose, three in all during fourteen months, at the end of which time only a trace was visible. Then it began to spread again with sharp stinging pains. Arsenicum 40 M. cleared it up absolutely and there was no trace, objective or subjective, until now, at ninety-six, the skin on the cheek has taken on a suspicious appearance. WATERBURY, CONN.