Medical men are frequently asked: “When are you going to find something out about cancer?” The inference being that we know nothing whatever about it.
What is meant by such a questionthe germ of truth that it containsis that we are not certain of the cause of cancer, and we have no certain means of curing every cancer, no matter what stage it is in.
Contrary to such haphazard opinion, we know a great deal about cancer. It can be classified with a number of other similar conditions called neoplasms, or new growths. In all of these the cells of the particular tissue or organ involved begin to increase in number at some localized spot. Thus we can have these growths begin in fibrous tissue, in which case they are called fibroids; or in bone tissue, in which one is called an osteoma.
Cancer develops in epithelial tissuesskin, glandular tissue, etc. The cells pile up for a long time in quite a localized spot, and only when the condition is neglected do they spread so far as to be out of control. On account of their predilection for epithelial tissues, the skin, the lips, the breast and the mouth of the womb are the most frequent locations for cancer, and here modern methods of treatment have the best opportunity of preventing serious consequences by removing the growth early. .
While there are frequent reports of finding some germ as the cause of cancer, there is no evidence at present that such is the case, and indeed every feature would indicate that cancer is not a contagious or infectious disease.
Certainly no serum or injection having as its aim the destruction of the germ or neutralization of the toxins of cancer, has been successful. The colloidal preparations of the heavy metals, such as gold and lead, act on a different theory. The metals have an affinity for the cancer cells, and by uniting, destroy them.
Being a local cell growth, the cure of cancer depends upon the complete removal of the outlaw cells in an early stage. This is best done by surgery, and by radio-activity (x-ray and radium). Radio-active substances destroy certain kinds of cells more readily than otherslymphatic cells, glandular cells and young cells. As these are the very cells involved in cancer, the value of radio-activity is obvious. The ideal treatment is surgery followed (and sometimes pre-ceded) by radio-activity.