Friday, December 5, 2008

About Nature And Symptoms of Cancer

CANCER,  ITS NATURE AND SYMPTOMS.   Cancer is, unfortunately, one of those desperate diseases to which the human frame is liable, and more to be dreaded than any other, inasmuch as it is insidious in its approach, and destructive to the greatest degree when it is perfectly developed. It is so intractable and malignant in its nature that it is generally considered an incurable disease; and not without reason, as notwithstanding the great increase of knowledge amongst that valuable portion of the community, the medical profession, yet it baffles all their efforts to subdue it, and sets at defiance all the triumphs of science. This disease rarely occurs in young subjects. An eminent surgeon states, that in the course of nearly forty years' extensive practice, he has seen but two instances of its occurring under 30 years of age; most usually it commences at the age of between forty and fifty years. Like many other diseases it is frequently hereditary, many members of the same family having become the subjects of cancer. It most usually attacks the female breast, the lips, particularly the lower one, the tongue, the skin, and the glandular parts about the neck and arm-pits; the stomach, the liver, the lungs, and the brain, may also become affected with this terrible malady. Sometimes it commences without any ostensible cause, and the attention of the patient is frequently directed to the case by mere accident; at other times, blows, bruises, or continued pressure upon a part, may often be traced as the exciting cause. In either case, however, it is generally found in the state of a hard lump or knot, varying in its size, it is loose and moveable, without pain or discolouration of the skin. It may continue in this state for many months, or even years; it then enlarges, the surface of the tumour becomes more or less knotty or uneven; it becomes hot and painful, and the pain is of a peculiar darting, piercing nature, or what the faculty technically call _lancinating_; and the patient's health, which had hitherto continued tolerably well, now begins to suffer from the irritation of the disease. In process of time the part ulcerates, a discharge of fetid ichorous matter issues from it; sometimes it bleeds freely, and there is a burning pain in the part. The ulcer becomes of considerable size, and assumes a frightful aspect. The patient becomes dejected in his spirits, his countenance is sallow and woe worn, his appetite fails, his days and nights are full of sorrow and pain, the disease still progresses, till, finally, death comes to the aid of the unhappy sufferer, and closes the scene of anguish and misery.  Such is the progress of this appalling malady. It commences apparently in a trifling way, it terminates in destruction of life.  I have said that the patients' spirits are usually dejected in this disease, and I wish this to be particularly noticed, as it points out how cautious a medical man ought to be in stating positively to the sufferer the real nature of his complaint. The mind is so depressed by the disease, that the simple communication of the fact to the patient often produces such a shock to the feelings as he rarely recovers from; indeed, it often accelerates the death of the patient, and such being the case, I am quite certain that no man of experience, judgment, or common sense, would ever commit himself so seriously. Whenever it is done, it is usually committed by some daring unprincipled empiric, who often finds it to his interest to pronounce a case cancerous when in 99 cases out of 100 it is really not so. Now, with respect to the cure of cancer, I can confidently assert, that when the disease is really cancer, when it occurs as a constitutional disease, (as it almost always does) and when it is perfectly developed, no known remedy is in existence which has the power of destroying it. It sets even the knife at defiance, for I have repeatedly seen that when the disease has been scientifically extirpated, it either returns to the same part, or to the neighbourhood of the same part, and in such cases the disease has generally proceeded in its second attack with extraordinary rapidity. I am strengthened in this assertion by the observations of Professor Monro--he says, "_Of nearly sixty cancers which I have been present at the extirpation of, only four patients remained free of the disease for two years. Three of these lucky people had occult cancers in the breast, and the fourth had an ulcerated cancer of the lip. The disease does not always return to the part where the former tumour was taken away, but more frequently in the neighbourhood, and sometimes at a considerable distance. Upon a relapse, the disease in those I saw was more violent, and made a much quicker progress than it did in others on whom no operation had been performed_."--I believe the whole medical profession are of the same opinion; in fact, those gentlemen are candid enough to acknowledge that cancer is a disease over which their art has no control. This is much to be deplored, inasmuch as it has enabled the most unprincipled characters to practise their impositions upon the unhappy sufferers with the greatest impunity. What but the most consummate impudence can allow a man to assert that he has cured a genuine cancer, when that very man does not know the nature of cancer, or point out what is, or what is not, a malignant disease?  Having thus described the nature and symptoms of cancer; and having adverted to the effect of medicine upon this disease, I shall make some remarks on the treatment of the same. I have stated there is no specific remedy known for this disease; and that those who pretend to such specific are IMPOSTERS of the most dangerous description; such men will boast of "_great discoveries_;" they will sound their own trumpet and tell you that they are men of "_great skill_;" they will flourish a "_challenge to the world_;" and, in fact resort to every means to entrap the unhappy sufferer, which great impudence, unbounded ignorance, and glaring falsehoods, will enable them to do. I may also allude to the indiscretion of those who are induced, by repeated solicitations from such imposters, to allow their names to be appended to cases which are false in fact, and only calculated to promote the sordid motives of such characters. The attestators are thus led to countenance an infamous species of deception; and are equally responsible to the community for any injury which such men may inflict. Hence they ought to be extremely careful in allowing this use to be made of their names, as I cannot believe it to be their wish to countenance such practices intentionally. I have thus exposed the fallacy of such a specific for cancer, and in these remarks I am sure I shall be supported by the whole medical profession.  I may now observe, that with regard to the treatment which I have adopted in cancers for the last 26 years, I am ready to confess, that it has often proved ineffectual as to a cure. During that period I have seen an immense number of cancerous cases, and I candidly avow that they have frequently disappointed my wishes, and the hopes of the patients; I, therefore, do not publish to the world a specific, because in that case I know I should be stating that which is notoriously untrue; I should be guilty of a great moral sin, blasting the hopes of those who might entrust themselves to my care, and hurrying them to their graves, full of anger, grief, and disappointment. All I can say is, that my mode of treatment is simple, and that if it do not produce a cure it will at least mitigate the sufferings of the patient. Many have left me in consequence of not getting well, they have resorted to other means, and at last returned to me again, because my mode of treatment appeared to be most suitable to the disease. When I have failed in a cure, I have succeeded in alleviating the pain and misery attendant upon such a dreadful disease, and frequently retarded its progress.  I have thought proper to be thus explicit on the nature and cure of cancer, and instead of vainly boasting of my success, I have candidly expressed my opinions on the subject.
Title: Observations on the Causes, Symptoms, and Nature of Scrofula or King's Evil, Scurvy, and Cancer        With Cases Illustrative of a Peculiar Mode of Treatment  Author: John Kent

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