An Early Diagnosis.
In the December issue, there is a strong appeal made to physicians to diagnose cancer early and treat it with confidence in its cure. The admonition applies to many if not all serious disorders. I am quite confident that I have anticipated chronic nephritis and have caused the suggestive symptoms to disappear. The now general belief in the curability of incipient phthisis is but the general acceptance of this idea.
Keen, close observation—acute discernment—are essential in correct diagnosis. It is not only positively necessary to know what the disease is, but to know what may develop from the symptoms which are apparent if they are allowed to remain.
It is a too common practice among all physicians to pass over slightingly a single symptom or a few indefinite indications which do not clearly point to any well known disease. These should each be considered and dwelt upon, until their full, present or future bearing upon the health of the patient is determined. They should be properly placed and if possible specifically treated at once.
It is by an exact knowledge of the indications and the remedy or remedies that will meet those indications that we are enabled to become exact prescribers. By curing the indications, we will find that we are warding off often chronic disease which, if we wait until we can clearly diagnose, has become too firmly seated to cure and must be pronounced incurable. No conspicuous symptom should at any time be overlooked.
By keeping thus a close watch upon apparently minor indications, the physician sometimes has an intuitive sense of the approach of a definite disorder which this intuition enables him to name with positiveness, and to ward off by means which a correct knowledge of his remedies makes possible. This is rapidly becoming the duty and obligation of every physician.
Ellingwood's Therapeutist, Vol. 2, 1908, was edited by Finley Ellingwood M.D.