This section is from the book "The Home Hand-Book of Domestic Hygiene and Rational Medicine. Volume 2.", by J. H. Kellogg, M.D.. Also available from Amazon: The Home Hand-Book of Domestic Hygiene and Rational Medicine, Volume 2.
Throbbing, darting pains, and a sense of weight in the breast; sometimes little or no pain; a hard swelling in the substance of the breast which is first movable, afterward becoming fixed; nipple drawn in; tenderness to the touch; skin over tumor reddish, afterward becoming purple; in some cases the whole breast is moderately hard, there being no distinct tumor.
The intractable nature of malignant disease in any part of the body, when well developed, makes it important that prompt measures should be taken upon the first discovery of any symptom affording ground for suspicion of cancer of the breast. The patient should not hesitate and temporize until the chances for a permanent cure are lost. The opinion of the best pathologists at the present day is that the disease is wholly a local affection in its early stages, so that if the diseased part is removed before other parts of the body become infected, the patient has a chance to recover. There is only one method of treatment for use and recommendation in these cases, and that is, thorough removal of the diseased part as soon as suspicious symptoms occur. The earlier the removal can be effected, the better. Of the various methods which have been employed, the removal by the knife is in the majority of cases the best, as it is a thorough operation, and it can be made painless by means of anaesthesia; it also possesses the advantage of giving the parts an opportunity for healing immediately, thus affording less opportunity for the disease to return. We have removed a number of cancers by this method, and have thus far heard of no recurrence of the disease. No remedy is a positive cure however, since the same depraved condition of the system which gave rise to the disease in the first place may cause a new outbreak, even though the first be entirely cured.
The public cannot be too frequently and earnestly warned against patronizing the numerous horde of cancer doctors who thrive upon the ignorance of the masses, lauding the virtues and advantages of so-called specifics which are warranted to cure every case. These wonderful (?) specifics, when of any value whatever, are standard remedies which are well known to the regular profession and have been for years. The apparent success which many of these quacks achieve is due to the fact that they do not hesitate to pronounce all forms of tumors to be cancers, notwithstanding the fact that the great majority of tumors are wholly benign. A person finding a small painful lump in the breast should consult a skillful surgeon at once, especially if there is any history of malignant disease in the family. In cases of cancer of the breast which are already very far advanced, ulceration having begun and infection of the system having taken place, as shown by the debilitated condition of the patient and enlargement of the glands under the arm, etc., removal of the breast may still be of advantage in prolonging the life of the patient and adding to his comfort, although there may be no hope of effecting a cure. The application of ice to the affected part in the form of iced compresses, or better, by means of rubber bags filled with iced water or small pieces of ice, is an excellent means for relieving the severe pain which characterizes the disease, and also for delaying its progress. Frequent freezing of the diseased parts by means of a mixture of salt and pounded ice, in proportion of one part of the former to two of the latter, applied by means of a muslin bag, has been very highly recommended for holding in check the progress of this terrible malady.