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Source: Papers On Health
Swellings in the breast often arouse fear of cancer, but are
generally very simple affairs and easily yield to treatment as in
article Breast, Swelling in. If not, we should chill the diseased
growth so as to arrest it. Now this, as we have proved, may be
effectually done, and the sorely tried patient may be saved a world of
pain, and perhaps cured. We have seen more than one apparently
desperate case, even where the breast had been cut off and the evil was
again showing itself, in which effective cooling arrested the growth
and saved the sufferer. When a growth of this kind has gone a certain
length, there is severe pain. The cooling removes this, and secures the
patient unspeakably precious rest without narcotics. But this is not
all: it puts an effectual stop to the swelling. If the case has not
gone very far, the swelling falls, and may disappear; but even when it
has gone too far for this, the disease is stayed, and all symptoms of
it are lessened. All swelling but the actual separate growth is
removed. For instance, when the swelling has passed from the breast
into the armpit it has been dispelled, and entirely confined to the
actual substance of the tumour. This is managed simply by the
persistent and vigorous use of cold towels. They must be large enough
to allow of fourfold covering of the whole breast. They are wrung out
of cold water at first, and, if possible, cooled with ice instead of
being wrung out after. One at a time is kindly pressed all round and
over the swollen breast. It is heated in one or two minutes, and must
be changed. The second is pressed round and all over the breast in the
same way. It is soon heated too, but you may have three of them in a
circle, and if you have a bit of ice for those that are cooling, you
have cold enough. Some would put on an ice-bag, and let it lie, but we
have never been able to advise this, as it is very apt to destroy the
outer skin by too severe cold. This treatment requires work--no doubt
of that--but the effects are well worth it.
When the cooling treatment, given twice a day, or oftener if it can be
without discomfort, has reduced the swelling and put back the tumour,
till it may fairly be regarded as capable of absorption, it will be
well to try the effect of hot fomentation by bathing (see Breast,
Swelling in). This will not do harm, but good, if it is only used so
far as to try whether the stage for hot treatment has been reached. If
the hot bathing is agreeable, and instead of causing pain, rather
soothes and comforts, it may be strongly tried. But this will be only
if the effectual cooling has put back the disease, or if it has been
really mastered. So long as it shows a tendency to increase, it will be
well to continue the cooling.
Even if it be not possible to remove the disease, its progress may be
arrested, and it may be rendered dormant for the rest of life. We know
persons sent off to die with growths who are now quite well and have
been so for many years, with these growths only rendered dormant. Even
if this is not possible, it may be that we render the growth so slow
that it shall come to nothing important in the remainder of even a long
life. We should never hesitate to do our utmost in any case.
Besides the local treatment given above, vital action in the whole
bodily system has to be increased on a definite line. This is the
ripening and removing used-up substance from the body. It is sluggish
ripening of substance to which we trace the morbid living growth; that
sluggishness must be overcome. The first and most important means for
this is fresher air for the lungs. The seaside home, if there are no
drugs or drinks prescribed in ignorance, nor any other drawback, will
be found of immense value here.
Next in importance to fresh air is pure distilled water. It should be
used both in preparing food and for drinking. This constant use of
distilled water is one of the most important remedies in cases of
cancer. Comfortable clothing (see Underwear) should be worn by night
and day, and damp avoided. The food should be such as can be most
easily assimilated. Whole wheaten meal in various forms and pure water
work wonders on "hopeless cases."
But when all these conditions have been supplied, "pack" the whole body
at eight o'clock at night in cloths lightly wrung out of hot vinegar
and water, half and half, and covering these with dry sheets and
blankets, give the patient an hour in this "pack." On taking out of
this, rub gently all over with hot olive oil, dry that off and put to
bed. In the morning, at half-past seven or so, pack in a soapy blanket
for an hour, then sponge with vinegar and rub with oil. Take a stick of
good liquorice, with half an ounce of senna leaves, and put these in a
quart of water, boil the whole down to a pint, giving a teaspoonful of
this in a little hot water three times a day.
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