Celibacy, as well as the cessation of the menses, conduces to the production of cancers in women, and consequently antiquated maids are the more subject to them: next are those mothers who have not suckled their children; then follow women who arc past child bearing; and the least so are men, and those women who have borne children and nursed them with their own milk. Hollerius observes, that girls are subject to glandular tumours whose menstrual discharges are scanty.

A hard unequal tumour that is indolent, and without any discoloration in the skin, is called a scirrhus; but when an itching is perceived in it, which is followed by a pricking, shooting, or lancinating pain, and a change of colour in the skin, it is usually denominated a cancer. It generally is small in the beginning, and increases gradually; but though the skin changes to a red or livid appearance, and the state of the tumour from an indolent to a painful one, it is sometimes very difficult to say when the scirrhus really becomes a cancer, the progress being quick or slow, according to concurring causes. When the tumour is attended with a peculiar kind of burning, shooting pains, and the skin hath acquired the dusky purple or livid hue, it may then be deemed the malignant scirrhus, or confirmed cancer. Mr. Pearson further adds, when thus far advanced in women's breasts, the tumour sometimes increases speedily to a great size, having a knotty unequal surface, more glands becoming obstructed, the nipple sinks in, turgid veins are conspicuous, ramifying around, and resembling a crab's claws. These are the characteristics of an occult cancer on the external parts; and we may suspect the existence of one internally when such pain and heat as hath been described succeed in parts where the patient hath before been sensible of a weight and pressure, attended with obtuse pain. A cancerous tumour never melts down in suppuration like an inflammatory one; but when it is ready to break open, especially in the breast, it generally becomes prominent in some minute point, attended with an increase of the peculiar kind of burning, shooting pain, felt before at intervals, in a less degree, and deeper in the body of the gland. In the prominent part of the tumour, in this state, a corroding ichor sometimes transudes through the skin, soon forming an ulcer; at other times a considerable quantity of a thin lymphatic fluid, tinged with blood from eroded vessels, is found on it. Ulcers of the cancerous nature discharge a thin, fetid, acrid sanies, which corrodes the parts, having thick dark coloured retorted lips; and fungous excrescences frequently rise from these ulcers, notwithstanding the corrosiveness of the discharge. In this state they are often attended with excruciating, pungent, lancinating, burning pains, and sometimes with bleeding.

Though a scirrhus may truly be deemed a cancer as soon as pain is perceived in it, yet every painful tumour is not a cancer; nor is it always easy to say whether a cancer is the disorder or not: irregular hard lumps maybe perceived in the breast; but, on examining the other breast, where no uneasiness is perceived, the same kind of tumours are sometimes found, which renders the diagnostic uncertain. Yet, in every case, after the cessation of catamenia, hard unequal tumours in the breast are suspicious; nor, though without pain, are they to be supposed indolent or innoxious. We think, with Mr. Pearson, that the absorbent glands are seldom or never the scat of cancers; and, could we distinguish in the breast these from the true secretory organs, our distinction might be more correct. Lymphatic glands are, however, found in the breast, though not numerous. A few distinct tumours, traced in a chain to the axilla, are perhaps lymphatic glands, and will never become cancerous; yet no prudent physician will offer such a decided opinion even to the patient's friends.

The nature of cancer is unknown. It has long been disputed, whether it was a general disease, a portion of the fluids, determined by different causes to the affected part, or whether any accident to the organ diseased altered its former habits, so as to produce a poisonous corrosive fluid instead of the usual salutary one. Much serious argument, and, we may add, much idle jargon, have been employed on both sides. We shall endeavour, at least, to place the question on its proper footing; and, though we may not greatly elucidate the subject, yet we trust we may be able to direct the arguments and observations more conclusively in future.

If cancer were a general disease, we might expect it to be distinguished by a determined appearance in the look, or decided marks in the constitution: it might be sometimes hereditary, or perhaps contagious. We suspect that there are striking appearances in the complexion; for we have found cancers more frequent in the dark cadaverous complexions than in the fairer kind. The complexion we mean is distinct from the darkness of the atrabilious or melancholic habits: a blue tint seems mixed with the brown, and is chiefly conspicuous under the eyes, or in the parts usually fair. This may, perhaps, be a refinement without foundation, but we think we have often observed it. There is certainly no constitutional symptom by which it can be predicted, if, in women, a scanty and a dark coloured catamenial discharge be not a prognostic of the future disease. We would not, however, disseminate alarm; and can truly add, that in such cases the woman is by no means peculiarly liable to cancer; yet cancer sometimes follows the cessation of such a discharge. Cancer has certainly been traced in females of the same family; and those who have escaped, suffer from irregular anomalous pains, and different, often unaccountable, complaints. That cancer is contagious we have not the slightest reason to believe: we mean from effluvia; for the matter inserted under the skin, or touched with the tongue, has been said to produce the complaint.