Sources: 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.