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Category: Constitutional Diseases

(In the following article on cancer we quote in part from
material issued by the Public Health Department of the State of Michigan).

Cancer is curable if it be operated upon in its early stages. If it be
left to grow and develop, cancer is always fatal. It may be partially
removed when in an advanced stage, and relief may be had for some time
after operation; but beyond the early stage, cancer cannot at present be
permanently removed, nor permanently cured. Permanent cure of a cancer is
possible if the afflicted person obtains an early diagnosis and receives
early attention from a skilled surgeon. The only permanent cure for cancer
known at the present time is early surgical operation.

Have Operations Failed to Cure?--Very few persons die from operations
performed by skilled surgeons for the removal of cancer. Where cancer
operation is done by experienced surgeons the fatality in America for the
past fourteen years is less than one case out of a hundred, or in other
words ninety-nine persons out of a hundred survive operation for cancer.
Many persons have died from the return of the cancerous growth even after
operation by a skilled surgeon, and this fact has led many persons to
believe that operation for cancer is, therefore, unsuccessful, that it
does not cure. This is not the fact. It is true that cancer often returns
after operation, and that this method does not always effect a permanent
cure; but it is not true that operations are, therefore, useless. The
reason that operations do not remove cancers permanently in a great number
of cases is that such cases do not submit to operation soon enough. The
majority of persons suffering from cancer seek surgical aid too late. If a
house is on fire and one refuses to turn in an alarm until the fire has
spread from cellar to garret, neither blame nor disparagement must be
placed upon the fire department if it failed to save the burning house. So
with cancer; if the public refuses or neglects to operate for cancer at
the time when it can be eradicated, the public cannot censure or belittle
surgery. A cancer is like a green and ripe thistle. Pull up the green
thistle and you have gotten rid of it. But if you wait until the thistle
is ripe, and the winds have blown away the seeds, there is no use of
pulling up that thistle. Early operations are successful. Late ones are

No reliable surgeon claims to save his patient or cure him of cancer if
the disease be in an advanced stage. But experienced surgeons do recognize
the fact that cancer in its early stage can be permanently removed and a
permanent cure can be effected by surgical operation. No other means of
permanent cure are known.

Caustic pastes applied to cancerous growths or sera, are sometimes
successful in obliterating the cancer for a time; but they are not
reliable for effecting enduring cures, and usually are merely palliative,
The fact that a cancer does not return for three years after removal is
not sure proof that it will not return; the return of a cancerous growth
depends upon its state of development and other conditions at the time of
removal from the cancer. In Johns Hopkins' Hospital forty-seven per cent
of all patients with cancers of the breast operated upon remained well for
three years or more, and seventy-five per cent of this forty-seven per
cent were cured, being in the most favorable condition for cure at the
time of the operation. But where conditions are not favorable at the time
of the operation, many patients have a return of the cancer even after the
three years of apparent cure have elapsed.

What is Cancer?--A cancer is a growth of cancerous cells in a network of
connective tissue. The cause of cancer is not known. It has not been
proved to be communicable and the majority of investigators of this
subject believe that it is not caused by a germ. Nor is it thought to be
inherited. Out of 8,000 cases of cancer at Middlesex Hospital, London, no
evidence of heredity was found. Until the cause of cancer is known, it
cannot be prevented. The only safeguard lies in an early diagnosis of the
condition and an immediate operation. Eminent investigators are carrying
on extensive research and thousands of dollars are being spent annually to
ascertain, if possible, what is the cause of this dread disease, and it is
confidently believed that final success will crown this labor.

Next: When to Suspect Cancer and What to Do

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