This section is from the book "Smith's Family Physician", by William Henry Smith. See also: Natural Physician's Healing Therapies: Proven Remedies that Medical Doctors Don't Know.
The symptoms of this disease, as described by Sir James Simpson, are: "The presence of a constant, profuse and offensive discharge; frequent, profuse and intractable flood-ings."
These are cases that require the active interference of the surgeon, as in many instances the only real relief to he obtained is from the removal of the diseased structure. In the London Medical Times and Gazette, October, 1860, Mr. Hutchinson published a statement of fourteen cases of "Epithelial Cancer of the female genitals," in which eleven recovered after excision. In two the disease returned, and the patients died. In one the disease was too extensive for any operation. Since that publication, scattered through the medical periodicals, many other successful operations have been reported. Dr. F. Barker, of New York, states that since 1856 he has removed the neck of the womb eleven times; in nine of the cases the patients recovered, and remain well.
Dr. Routh, of London, has published two cases of apparent cure of Cancer of the neck of the womb by the use of a strong spirituous solution of Bromine; (Bromine from 5 to 10 grains to fifty minims of spirits of wine.) And Dr. A. W. Williams, physician to the Samaritan Hospital, published last year several cases of Cancer of the Womb, successfully treated with Bromine.
Of course the same attention must be paid to the state of the general health of the patient, as in Cancer of the Breast.
"Cancer of the Stomach,"says Sir Thomas Watson, "has sometimes no symptoms at all, or none which the most sagacious practitioner would refer to the organ affected.. Not long since, I saw, in consultation, an elderly clergyman, who complained of pains in his back, which were brought on or aggravated by certain movements of the body. His bowels were costive; and purgatives always relieved his pains. He was passing lithic acid gravel. The pains were felt in or near the region of the kidney. Several years before he had suffered in a similar manner, and had then been cured by being cupped on the loins. What was the matter here? Was it Lumbago? Was there a calculus in one of his kidneys? These were the best guesses that I could make. The eminent physician whom I met, and a surgeon of no less eminence, who had seen the patient previously, had not been able to attain any more exact diagnosis. Upon this gentleman's death, which occurred not long afterwards, his disorder was discovered to have been Cancer of the Stomach. Excepting slight sickness a day or two before he died, there had been no symptoms to direct attention to that part.
"A young woman came into the Middlesex Hospital, under one of my colleagues, with a pulsating tumour in the region of the stomach. It was thought, at first, to be an aneurism, and the case attracted, on that account, a good deal of notice. But the tumour subsided very much after free purgation. This led some to suppose that it was formed by accumulated faeces in the transverse colon. There was no sickness; nor indeed any one symptom referable to the stomach. She died. The tumour was cancerous.
Lying in front of the abdominal aorta, it had been lifted by its pulsations.
"I was summoned to one of the hotels in Albemarle street, to see a gentleman between forty and fifty years of age, who was on his way home from the Scottish Highlands, where he had been deer-stalking, and shooting grouse. He had been seized in the night with deadly faintness, very rapid breathing, and severe pain, which he referred to the breast-bone. I could detect no faulty sounds in his heart or in his lungs. His stomach felt full and pulpy. The next night he had a similar paroxysm, in which he died. His body was examined by Mr. Paget. The lungs and heart were sound in structure. The large curvature of the stomach presented, throughout its whole extent, a mass of scirrhus lying beneath and among thick ridges of mucous membrane, with two or three deep patches of ulceration.
"This case, which I saw in consultation with Dr. Turner of Keith, who had accompanied the patient to London, was imperfectly reported by me on a former occasion. In fact I had stumbled in the diagnosis, and hearing that the patient had for some weeks suffered shortness of breath and palpitation of progressive severity on slight bodily exertion, I thought that he probably was the subject of fatty degeneration of the heart, and consequent portal congestion. Dr. Turner had construed the symptoms more correctly, and it is due to his better sagacity that I should here acknowledge my own shortcomings. From the first he thought the stomach, and the stomach only, to be the seat of the disease. The patient had gradually lost flesh and strength. He had pain after eating, referred always to one circumscribed spot in the epigastrum, and sour eructations. At a later period pitchy alvine evacuations, consisting chiefly of altered blood, had occurred; at first once or twice daily, and then recurring at irregular intervals of from four to ten days. The shortness of breath and palpitation were rightly attributed by Dr. Turner to the low condition to which the patient had been reduced.
"What is especially to be noticed in this case is the entire absence of vomiting, notwithstanding the great amount of organic mischief.
"Dr. Turner told me that the pain in the stomach was always, and immediately alleviated upon the patient's swallowing a little undiluted brandy; and that his experience had led him to attribute considerable value to this effect of alcohol, as an aid towards the diagnosis of similar cases."
Instances to the same effect are related by Dr. Seymour, and by M. Andral.
"But even when the stomach is pointed out by the symptoms as the seat of disease, those symptoms often fail to indicate with any certainty the nature of the disease. The taking food is apt to produce great distress, sometimes as soon as the food is swallowed, sometimes not for an hour or two afterwards. Some cases are attended with much pain; some with none at all. One patient vomits continually; another has little or no vomiting from first to last.