This section is from the book "Materia Medica And Therapeutics Inorganic Substances", by Charles D. F. Phillips. Also available from Amazon: Materia medica and therapeutics.
A somewhat dilute acid (1 part acetic acid in 3 of water) has been used as a local injection into cancerous tissue, and Dr. Broad-bent argued that since it dissolved cancer-cells outside the body, and could readily penetrate living tissues (not coagulating albumen), it might lead to local destruction and disintegration of malignant growths when brought into direct contact with them: about 30 min. were injected at a time, and some satisfactory results were reported (Medical Times, 1866- 67). I have, however, seen harm done by it, and Heine's experiments show some danger in such injections. This method of treatment has not maintained its ground, and is now seldom practised.
A solution of citric acid - 60 to 90 gr. in 8 oz. of water - will sometimes markedly relieve the pain of cancerous ulceration. I have verified this fact in cancer of the tongue, of the breast, and of other parts, without being able to explain it. It is not generally known, but has been several times recorded, e.g., by Brandini, by Denny (Lancet, i., 1866), and Barclay (British Medical Journal, i., 1866). Chronic cases of psoriasis and eczema, especially in gouty subjects, are relieved by the daily use of slices of fresh lemon.
Besides the local application of lime-water and lime chlorides to cancerous sores, a power has been claimed for these remedies taken internally to diminish malignant growths; thus, a curious case, in which an extensive mammary cancer separated and fell off after a prolonged use of lime carbonate, is recorded by Dr. Peter Hood (Lancet, ii., 1867, p. 454); the patient was advanced in years, and for a long time took the carbonate, as prepared from the inner side of oyster shells, 10 to 20 gr. twice daily. Another case, cured under the same remedy, is also mentioned.
(If the taking of lime salts have any power in inducing the cretifica-tion of tubercle - and there is some clinical evidence to that effect - and if they can diminish the blood-supply of a fibroid tumor and hasten cretaceous degeneration of it, as suggested by Mr. Spencer Wells, then it is not unreasonable to expect advantage from them in some cases of cancerous degeneration, but I am not aware of other evidence in this direction.)
The arsenite of copper is said to be a valuable application for cancerous sores. Mr. Taylor (Liverpool) used it with an equal part of mucilage, and found it a good escharotic, disinfectant, and at the same time sedative dressing (Lancet, ii., 1864); it has not, however, been much used.