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After centuries of experimentation in which almost every known drug has been tried, we are forced to acknowledge that thus far we know of no remedy which offers the faintest assurance of the cure of cancer; if we except the arsenic pastes. The rapidity of absorption and our inability to control its action, render arsenic too dangerous to use in cancer of the rectum, except, perhaps, in cases of epithelioma at the margin of the anus. Until late years the high mortality and rapid recurrence after operation rendered this avenue of escape as hopeless to the sufferers as that of therapeutics, but since the discoveries cf Lister and Kraske they have been gradually declining, and the radical removal by the knife, offers today assurance of relief from suffering, and some hope of cure to the unfortunate suffers from this disease.
The late period at which most cancers of the rectum
TUTTLE JP. CANCER OF THE RECTUM.WHAT HAS MODERN SURGERY ACCOMPLISHED IN ITS TREATMENT?. JAMA. 1897;XXVIII(13):579–585. doi:10.1001/jama.1897.02440130005001a