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supposed to possess a specific influence upon cancer. It was first recommended by Störck, in 1761, as a certain specific; and perhaps of all the remedies used, it produces the best results. Mr. Walshe, after stating the results of this drug in the hands of Störck and M. Recamier, says: "It is impossible to read the narratives of numerous cases on record without receiving an impression that the disease may be permanently arrested in its advance, and, pro tanto, cured by the long-sustained use of conium, administered in doses increased progressively to such an extent as to produce some of its poisonous effects. Dr. A. L. J. Bayle,* in his learned summary of recorded experience on the subject, finds that, of 341 cases of cancer treated with conium, 46 were cured, 28 benefited, and in 267 instances the drug failed to produce any beneficial effect. Some of the cases of recovery may not, as the writer grants, have been truly cancerous; but it scarcely seems possible that none of them were so." †

Velpeau considers conium as quite incapable of curing cancer. He has also tried conicine without the slightest effect.

Belladonna also has had its advocates, among

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whom may be mentioned the high name of Cullen, besides a host of French surgeons. Walshe relates a remarkable instance of cure by Van der Block, by this agent:"A woman, aged fifty-one, was delivered completely of a tumour, possessing all the characters of scirrhus, by the use of infusion of belladonna. Lambergen's plaster (containing the extract of the same plant) being, at the same time, kept applied to the surface. In twelve months the affected breast had become precisely like its fellow, and after the expiration of two years, the woman was seen in a perfect state of health."*

Arsenic has been employed internally for many hundred years. Even in the present time it has its advocates. Mr. S. N. Hill states, as his experience, that this remedy retards the progress of the complaint, often prevents scirrhus from passing into the ulcerative stage, and sometimes dissipates such tumours completely.†

Dr. Copland also believes that, when this agent is carefully employed, Mr. Hill's opinion of its efficacy is not too highly coloured. I think that Mr. Walshe is rather inclined to advocate this remedy, although he does by no means insist upon it as a

*Walshe On Cancer, p. 195.

+ Edinburgh Medical and Surgical Journal, vol. vi. p. 58. 1810.

specific, as we are led to believe from what Velpeau says. Mr. Walshe has expressed his views regarding this agent so clearly, that I copy verbatim what he says upon it:-"The least reflection upon the nature of cancer must lead to the conclusion that the more powerfully alterative a medicine is, the greater the chance, ceteris paribus, of its proving beneficial in that disease. This is an à priori argument in favour of the trial of arsenical preparations by no means to be disdained; and it, of course, possesses additional force, if these can be combined with any other alterative of a powerful character. Now, in the iodide of arsenic these conditions are realized. Dr. A. T. Thomson, who introduced the medicine, supplied the earliest evidence* of its favourable influence in cases of cancer; this evidence, though not altogether convincing in respect of the solvent powers of the remedy, was of such a kind as to dispose me strongly to give it a trial under favourable circumstances. I have since done so in several cases, from which (in the greater number, other but not equally energetic means were employed simultaneously) I feel myself justified in drawing the following inferences as to its effects. It is to be premised that in all these cases the species of cancer treated was scirrhus in the non

* Lancet, October 27, 1838.

ulcerated stage, that the breast was the part affected, and that the constitution in some had begun to be affected seriously. 1. Given in doses of one-sixteenth to one-twelfth of a grain twice daily, two hours after eating, the iodide of arsenic is well borne, and may be continued for several months without risk. 2. The system generally soon gives evidence of its action; unusual perspirations, with dryness of the fauces and alimentary canal, occur. Sometimes slight headache is complained of, but this is rare; and I have known most violent periodical headache, which had afflicted a lady for years, disappear whilst she was under the influence of the salt. 3. The pain of the tumour decreases in violence. 4. The size of the breast generally diminishes; and if the tumour itself does not actually lessen in bulk, I have at least found that its enlargement, previously more or less active and apparent, becomes, as far as can be determined, suspended. There is difficulty in establishing the fact, on account of the change in dimensions of the breast generally. 5. The general health improves.


'My experience does not enable me to make any affirmation as to the power which this medicine, unaided, may by possibility possess of causing the removal of scirrhous tumours; one reason of this being, that I have invariably, after a short trial of it

alone, associated external agents in the treatment with it."*

Notwithstanding this strong evidence in the favour of arsenic, Velpeau says:-"But it is evident, from what has been published on this subject, that arsenical preparations are incapable of curing really cancerous tumours:" but he adds, "my natural disinclination to employ these substances has prevented me from prescribing them to anybody. Not being able to do good by their agency, I feared to do injury." †

Mercury. This drug has had many advocates who believe it to be a specific. It has been strongly recommended by MM. Gama and Bégin; but Velpeau says that, although he has used it in many hundred cases, yet found it to be perfectly inutile. I however, think that it is not only useless, but mischievous, especially in cases of cancer of the tongue.

Gold has had its advocates as an internal remedy; among whom is M. Duparcque, who speaks highly of the terchloride of gold. I have never used it myself as an internal agent, and can, therefore, say nothing about it.

From the power that iodine exerts in certain diseases, it was for some time looked upon as a

*Walshe On Cancer, p. 201.

+ Henry's Velpeau on Diseases of the Breast, p. 456.

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