The subject of the treatment of inoperable cases is not as painful a one as might appear, for much can frequently be done for them.
In the first place, many so-called inoperable cases are strictly operable if one has the courage to undertake the operation. Sherwell has thoroughly demonstrated this in some of his work. Of course, these extensive cancers look appalling to the novice, but to the expert there is often a great element of hope, especially if the tumor be of the basal-celled variety, and no metastases are to be feared. A thorough curettage, with excision of an area of skin around the edge, and then thorough cauterization, will often work wonders, and, even if it does not permanently cure, may make the patient comfortable for a number of years longer.
In the second place, radiologists have shown that many of the hopeless cases, even of a very malignant type, can be held in check or rendered comfortable for a long period of time. Radium will"occasionally be beneficial even after the x-rays have lost their effectiveness, although this is not usually the case.
In other cases, proper dressing of the ulcerated areas and keeping them thoroughly clean will often accomplish brilliant results as far as the comfort of the patient is concerned.
In certain cases the blood vessels supplying the part can be obliterated and the growth of the tumor impeded from lack of nutriment.
And last, the patient can always be kept comfortable by the use of morphine if necessary.