62 THE ENZYME TREATMENT OF CANCER
and not with normal occurrences of the life-cycle. If cancer be the abnormal production of an asexual generation, by a vagrant germ-cell or its progeny, it may be asked, Why do not the other items of the life-cycle supervene? Why do not a primitive germ-cell, primary germ-cells, and embryo arise? Were this to happen, the cycle, though commencing and being carried out under abnormal conditions, would revert to the normal; and from my experiences of abnormal development in various directions a reversion to the normal is always excluded. Were such an incipient carcinoma to form a primitive germ-cell, before the number of its apical or growing points had been increased, its portion of the cycle would thereby be brought to a close; and it is, in fact, the omission of this which fosters and favours its indefinite and unrestricted growth. Just in the same way in a flowering plant the failure to form flowers (containing the sexual generation) fosters the unrestricted growth of the sporophyte or asexual generation.
The etiology of carcinoma above suggested will be recognized as one whose nature indicates nothing favourable to its prevention or extermination. It may be said to explain completely its peculiarities and its hereditary character. But it is a despairing view. In this respect it is in only too close agreement with the experiences of physicians and surgeons. The one hopeful aspect is that in normal development at a certain period the embryo or sexual form is able in some way or other to suppress the asexual foundation upon which it arose, and, as a rule, the victory of the former over the latter is complete. “God help mankind, if you be right about cancer !“ remarked an Edinburgh consulting physician about November, 1904. “On the contrary,” I retorted, “God help mankind, if I be wrong !“ The trophoblastic view