BREAST, CANCER OF.—An affection which occurs not only in older women, but also in those who have not yet reached middle life. Usually the patient's attention is directed to the condition by finding a hard nodule in the breast, which may or may not be painful. The discovery is very often accidental. A cancer of the breast rapidly invades the axillary glands and may lead to secondary deposits also in other parts of the body, such as the lungs or the bones. Every hard nodule in the breast should at once be sub mitted to the inspection of the physician, and if operation is recommended his advice should be followed, for cancer in the breast may be cured by a surgical operation. The earlier this is done, the more favourable are the prospects of a permanent cure. But even in those cases where the growth has already involved the axillary glands, a cure may yet be possible. It is necessary in such cases not only to remove the affected breast, but also the axillary glands of the affected side. After operation it is desirable that the patient submit to regular subsequent examination by a physician, so that any recurrence may be detected and removed as soon as possible. This
greatly enhances the chances for permanent relief.
For the reason just stated it cannot be too firmly impressed upon the lay mind that the employment of any of the numerous popular or secret nostrums is waste of very valuable time, the remedies themselves being absolutely ineffective. The so-called natural methods (air, light, water, etc.) are likewise worthless, and have never yet succeeded in curing the disease. A person should never be misled by the claims made for these methods nor by the publication of pretended cures. In the presence of true cancer, the only way to eliminate the growth is by early and thorough operation. Too much faith must not be placed in the X-ray treatment. Although useful in some cases of flat cancer, the X-ray treatment is generally useless in deep seated carcinoma of the breast.