ASPECTS AND ETIOLOGY OP CARCINOMA 51
he learnt, from the researches of Wilms* and others, that it had been encountered occasionally along with those curious tumours, the “ dermoid cysts” of ovary or testis—the “embryomata,” or rudimentary embryos of Wilms. The latter speaks of this occasional connection** of the two—it had in 1902, according to Wilms, been observed some nine times—as a remarkable fact (p. 86), in that, in an organism of one or two years of age, the development of carcinoma can happen. As this relates to the presumed age of the embryoma, and not to that of the individual harbouring the latter, the validity of the conclusion is not apparent. On his part the writer must reject it. For the past two years, from time to time, in researches upon the germ-cells, observations have been made which appeared to have bearings upon the nature of carcinoma.*** This period may not seem a long one; but beyond it lie the investigations of other twelve years, without which the standpoint of to-day would be an impossibility. If, therefore, no study of cancers underlie the present chapter, the approach of the problem is not a sudden one; but it has been preceded by prolonged observation and, moreover, animal life is the same, whether it be that of a hydroid polype upon a shell of the seashore, or that of a cancer within an individual of the human race.
The immediate cause of the present writing was as follows: In a recent paper, dealing with the understudy theory of heredity, in an altogether different connection,
* Wilms Max, “fiber die Dermoidcysten und Teratome,” etc. in Deutsches Archiv f. klin. Med., v. 55, 1895, pp. I-IO8, P1. 3 ; also Martin, “Die Krankheiten des Eierstockes,” etc., Leipzic, 1899, pp. 576-614.
** Chorio-epithelioma, even in the male, and usually in the testis, has, of recent years, turned out to be not uncommon.
*** Some years ago, at Liverpool, Mr. H. J. Styles, F.R.C.S., published figures of all the supposed “cancer-parasites,” and showed what they really were. All of these have been seen by the writer in degenerating germ-cells of development.