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Radium Cancer

rays, x-rays, degree and skin

CANCER, RADIUM, X-RAYS.—Although the only treatment for fully developed cancer that holds out any prospect of cure is surgical operation, yet for certain superficial kinds of cancer, and possibly for the earlier stages of the more serious forms, the comparatively recently discovered methods of treating them with the X-rays and the rays and emanations of radium offer a considerable degree of hope. In both instances the active agents are certain light rays of the ultra-violet, or " chemical," type (as distinguished from the red, or heat rays), corresponding with those Which act on the photographic plate, cause violent sunburn, for example, in persons who cross the Alpine snowfields in bright sunshine without protecting the face, and are known to exert a destructive action on bacteria. Both the X-rays and radium, how ever, are capable of destroying the human skin by burning it, and may even themselves cause a kind of cancer growth in it ; hence expert medical advice is absolutely necessary before, during, and after the application of either.

The X-ra) s have been found to be curative in many instances of that spreading cancerous affection of the face known as rodent ulcer, to check the growth of cancerous disease in the superficial layers of the skin, and also materially to relieve the pains of persons suffering from incurable cancer in the deeper structures and organs of the body. What the X-rays will do,

the rays and emanations from radium, similar, it is believed, in their essence, will effect with a greater degree of certainty.

Radium may now be looked to, as Sir Frederick Treves has recently stated, for the cure of those tumours composed largely of blood-vessels popularly known as " moles," " port-wine stains," " birth-marks," and so on, which are so disfiguring on the face and neck. It has cured rodent ulcer which has existed for years, tunl has resisted the skilful application of both the X-rays and the Finsen light rays ; and it has apparently cured cancerous epithelial tumours of the tongue, lips, cheek, and other accessible parts. A particularly favourable point about radium is that its too vigorous action may be attenuated to almost degree. Its emanations, tor example, may CVCII be transmitted to water which may be injected in any dilution into the deeper and less accessible parts of the body. So capable of attenua tion is it that in an infinitesimally thin layer it has relieved the distressing irritation of the inflammatory disease of the skin known as eczema, a condition which, in its undiluted form, it might well produce. Without being unduly sanguine, the medical profession is looking for the further beneficent. develop mutt of this method of treatment at the hands of experts.