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.
Pain at the pit of the stomach of a burning or gnawing character, increased by food: tenderness on pressure over the stomach: nausea and frequently vomiting, the vomited matters often resembling coffee grains: hard, pulsating tumor felt near the pit of the stomach: great emaciation: tawny yellow complexion: symptoms of enlargement of the stomach: great exhaustion: swelling of the ankles: sometimes general dropsy.
The disease is often somewhat obscure, very few of the characteristic symptoms mentioned being present. Sometimes the only symptom observable is gradual emaciation which does not yield to any treatment. In such cases, of course, diagnosis is impossible. In many cases a positive diagnosis is very difficult, the most skillful physicians not frequently making a mistake after the most careful examination, No other organ of the body is so frequently affected by cancerous disease as the stomach, but the causes of cancer of this organ are not well understood. It is probable that the true causes are chronic gastritis, ulcer, and dietetic abuse of the organ, particularly the use of alcoholic liquors.
The disease seems to be hereditary in some families. The father of Napoleon I., his sister, and himself, all died of this disease. Cancer of the stomach also frequently occurs subsequent to cancer of some other organ. We have frequently observed this in cancer of the breast, particularly after operations for removal of the breast in cancerous disease.
Cancer of the stomach is most likely to be confounded with chronic gastritis and ulcer of the stomach, from which it is sometimes very difficult to distinguish it. The disease is, of course, incurable, but by careful treatment the patients life may be prolonged and his suffering greatly mitigated. As there are no curative measures which can be used with any prospect of success, we are confined to the use of palliative remedies. The same measures of treatment should be employed in this disease which have been recommended in extreme cases of chronic catarrh, enlargement of the stomach, and gastric ulcer. When the disease has progressed to a considerable degree, the offensive discharges may be very much diminished by the free use of finely powdered charcoal. The patient's sufferings are often so great that the use of opiates for relief is advisable. They should, of course, be given under the direction of a physician. The stomach-pump or syphon apparatus is exceedingly serviceable, as by its use the stomach may be cleansed of foul matters, which are usually absorbed into the system to a considerable extent, hastening a fatal result by general poisoning. Constipation of the bowels should be relieved by injections of tepid water.