The word tumor literally means a lump or a swelling, but as a scientific term it is now referred to as a swelling of a particular kind. A tumor has been defined as “an atypical new formation not resulting from inflammation.” This definition excludes such a swelling as a boil or abscess, because these result from inflammation. Swellings due to overgrowth also are excluded. The swelling of a blacksmith’s arm, for example, is not a tumor, because it has the typical structure of muscle. Nor is an additional or a supernumerary finger a tumor, because it has the typical structure of a finger. We see from the above, tumors are abnormal growths which differ from the tissue in which they develop. There may be (but as often is not) inflammation associated with their formation, but the growths are not the result of the inflammatory process. There are many types of tumors, differing in nature and effect, some being comparatively harmless and some being of a malignant type. The harmless ones are called “benign” tumors.
The benign tumors, while in themselves not destructive of adjacent tissue and not toxin producing, often may become serious through pressure upon adjacent or nearby organs or upon blood-vessels, thus interfering with circulation to or from a part.
The cause of tumors is not definitely known. In fact comparatively little is known regarding their origin. So many appear to result from injury that this must be considered as at least a contributing cause. As an illustration, tumors of the breast quite often develop after a blow, and cancer of the lip or tongue often appears in an incessant smoker, particularly of a clay pipe. While cancer may not be inherited directly, heredity may have some influence as a predisposing factor. It is claimed now that, while the usual age after which cancer develops is thirty-five or thereabouts, there is an increasing tendency to earlier appearance. This is thought to be due to inherited predisposition and a continuation of certain unknown habits of living that develop certain unknown toxemic states that make the growth possible.
It is considered by some pathologists that cancer, and possibly some other forms of tumor growths, are due to parasitic infection. This is not considered a factor by some scientists, and all endeavors to locate or discover a causative parasite have led to failure, as have all serums for inoculative treatment concocted with the idea of combating bacteria and their toxins.
While the simple and benign tumors are not so definitely the result of abnormal chemistry of the body, it is reasonably clear that malignant growths arc in a considerable degree, if not entirely, the result of such altered chemistry. For the recent few generations during which malignant growths have steadily increased there have been gross changes in diet. During this time (until within very recent years) white flour and its products have supplanted entirely whole grain products. The use of sugar and its products likewise has steadily increased. An additional possible factor has been the long decline, as agricultural conditions were superseded, in the use of green vegetables and fresh fruits until quite recent years.
These various factors have tended to deprive the cells of the body of the required amount and balance of absolutely necessary mineral elements and vitamins. In addition they have supplied elements wholly foreign to the body. Combined with the numerous other factors that have resulted in enervation or reduced nerve tone and also that have had their influence upon the systemic chemistry, there is reason enough for believing that malignancy has increased because of these factors and that malignancy is wholly preventable.
It is unnecessary to go into any detail regarding the types of tumors, but something of their nature will be briefly considered.
Simple tumors grow slowly and often intermittently. They usually are enclosed in a capsule. They remain where they are formed, except for increase in size, without invading neighboring structures. If they are removed, there is no recurrence. There is no tendency to similar growths developing in other parts of the body through the blood-stream. They are not painful unless they cause pressure upon nerves. They have no direct detrimental influence upon health and do not lead to a fatal termination except through mechanical interference with vital organs.
Malignant tumors, on the other hand, grow more rapidly and constantly. The more malignant their nature, the more rapidly they grow. They are not encapsulated, but involve the neighboring tissues. They eventually undergo suppuration or ulceration, and may bleed. Secondary growths elsewhere in the body result. There is a general undermining of health from them, because of the underlying extreme toxemic condition, because of the toxins produced in and absorbed from the malignant growth, and because of involvement of vital structures or circulation. Upon removal the tendency is to recurrence. When left to themselves they destroy life through the discharges and hemorrhages and toxemia resulting, and the invasion of vital organs.
Since tumors result from an abnormal blood chemistry and glandular activity, constitutional measures will be necessary to favorably affect them, and if the growth has not developed to too great a degree and is not involving vital structures to too great an extent, their complete eradication by constitutional measures may sometimes be procured. One theory regarding the cause of cancer is that the involved cells (if not the whole body) are old before their time. Natural procedures will have the effect of removing toxemia, removing old and broken down cells, rejuvenating cells that are below normal, modifying functional activities and improving the function of the blood-making organs and the quality of the blood they produce. Hence a radical blood-purifying procedure is necessary, as well as general eliminative measures.
The fast is the most important of all procedures in the treatment of tumors. During a fast the blood is in condition, through lack of surplus material, to absorb any elements in the body that are not necessary. It has been noted that during the fast cancerous tissues, as well as non-malignant tumors gradually diminish in size and not infrequently wholly disappear. It cannot be stated as a certainty that this will be the result. But even if surgical operation is considered necessary the fast will put the body in such a condition that recuperation will be more prompt and recurrence will be much less likely. Furthermore, since malignant tumors tend to spread out like a multi-tentacled octopus into the neighboring tissue, the fast will aid in removing at least the more recently formed of these extensions so that the operation will be much more likely to remove all vestiges of the growth. But one should take the fast for its possible curative effect primarily (not in preparation for operation). If there has not been too great a loss of flesh and hemoglobin, that is, if there is not too great emaciation and anemia, the fast may continue for many days or several weeks. If after two weeks or so of a fast any palpable growth has made no appreciable reduction in size it may be better to use fruit juices or vegetable broth or both.
In fact, fruit juice may be used from the beginning, and particularly in cases of anemia and emaciation. The grape is considered one of the best fruits in this condition – either the juice of the fresh grape or unsweetened bottled juice being used. However, oranges, grapefruit or any other fresh fruit may be used, and with as satisfactory results. One may take a dozen oranges or so daily or the equivalent in any other juice. There should be copious water drinking, to add to the fluid in the blood-stream so that its absorptive powers will be increased.
The enema should be used daily to remove all possible sources of blood contamination from retained bowel wastes. The skin should be kept thoroughly cleansed by warm soap baths, followed by cool baths or, if the strength and energy permits, by a moderately hot bath followed by decidedly cool or moderately cold baths. However, reaction to complete warmth must be established shortly. There must be an abundance of fresh air at all times, as oxidation must take place and fresh air is necessary for this.
If the growth is in some location where physical activity does not disturb it, muscular exercise may be indulged in moderately. It is important that the circulation be maintained reasonably normally throughout the body and exercise is one of the leading means of accomplishing this. Naturally, if there are emaciation and anemia, the activity necessarily may be confined to walking. As intimated, no movements should be taken which cause discomfort in the affected region. There must be adequate relaxation and sleep, for in these conditions the energy usually is reduced and it is not regained as readily or as promptly as it may be in many other conditions.
Spinal compresses and massage may be of considerable value. Specific spinal therapy usually is not of particular importance. General massage may be given, and should be given in cases where physical activity is denied – though it may be used in any case with benefit.
Additional stimulation of the skin activity may be secured by the hot or cold wet-sheet pack or the blanket-pack, hot tub bath, or any other sweating bath if the general condition permits. Even in somewhat anemic and underweight conditions the blanket-pack may be used with some measure of benefit. Naturally, these baths cannot continue for any appreciable duration, because of the weakness often associated with the condition.
The diet after the fast or fruit diet should be aseptic and barely enough to support the body’s activity. So long as ample food is supplied for complete nourishment there will be no further absorption of any growth. The fruits and vegetables, particularly the fresh juicy fruits and the leafy vegetables, should form by far the greater portion of the diet. These provide the essential neutralizing minerals and vitamins and they give the blood elements which it can use to combine with broken down tissues and waste products, thus making them more easily eliminated and at the same time less injurious while in the body. Meats and all flesh foods (fish and fowl) should be eliminated from the diet, also all spices and condiments and particularly salt, including all salt-preserved foods, all pickled and vinegared foods, and smoked foods.
All rich and fried food should be avoided, and what foods are cooked should be baked or broiled or cooked in parchment paper or in covered enamel ware or in non-aluminum steaming vessels. Pressure cooking may be used also, and the double boiler is excellent in cooking. However, one of the best means of cooking is parchment paper, which retains every possible value of the food, including its natural flavor, with the addition of no extraneous substance whatever, even including water. Moderate amounts of whole grain cereals may be used, but these must not form a large portion of the diet. Milk may be used, and in many cases especially some form of sour milk.
The strict milk diet is of benefit in some cases, but owing to the considerable quantity of protein in this diet, it is not always an ideal diet.
Strange as it may seem, the sunbath is not favorable to malignant growths. In non-malignant cases the sunbath may be used with benefit, though it will have only an indirect beneficial effect. The reason for sunlight being detrimental in cancerous conditions is not understood as yet. If one would begin the use of the sunbath by five-minute exposure to the feet and then after several days increase a few inches up the lower extremities until after a month or so the entire body is exposed for short periods, it is possible for the body to utilize the chemicals produced in the skin by the sunbath. But when the entire body is exposed there is an unfavorable reaction, possibly due to an excess of these chemicals generated in the skin.
Malignant growths often produce agonizing pain. Unless they involve the surface, hot or cold packs may be employed to somewhat alleviate the pain. Thus in cancer of the stomach the abdominal packs may be employed, also the cold wet abdominal pack may be applied at night, being sufficiently covered with dry flannel that warmth is re-established at once. The pack may remain on until morning. The hot pack is preferable in case of anemia and emaciation, otherwise the cold pack may be preferred, as the effect is similar.
The sitz-bath or hip-packs may be used in case of pelvic cancer and cancer of the uterus. The sitz-bath may be hot or cold, but preferably hot and cold, two or three changes taken once or twice daily. The cold should be momentary only.
In cancer of the breast the local wet-sheet pack may be employed with some benefit. This is similar to the abdominal girdle except that it involves the chest. It may be hot or cold, according to the patient’s general condition. Sometimes this greatly relieves pain.
If the numerous causes mentioned above were avoided, if people returned at least in some measure to nature in their diet and general mode of living, if they would not house themselves inside and so cover their bodies as to smother all natural skin activity, and if they would not deny themselves sunlight, adequate sleep, normal physical movement and so on, there would be fewer of benign growths, and fewer still of malignant growths. In order to correct the conditions once they have developed we must revert to more primitive means of living, at least in our diet if in no other factor, but for best results in all of the factors already enumerated.
In the treatment of superficial or skin cancer, known as epithelioma, most excellent results have been obtained by the use of the X-ray combined with proper diet, and with other natural methods of treatment as mentioned above. Radium has also proved beneficial in the treatment of skin cancers. In the treatment of deep-seated malignancies, results of radium applications have not been so satisfactory.