Giant ovarian tumor, 1851
Dr. Stanley B. Burns
It wasn’t as uncommon as one might think to find grotesquely overgrown ovaries, testicles, and lymph nodes, especially in the lower classes. Being unable to afford to see a doctor until it was clearly too late to do much was not uncommon, and charity hospitals didn’t have many beds. There weren’t emergency rooms back then, which are compelled to provide care. Or, if you live outside the US, there wasn’t the health care you’re able to get just by living.
Either way, cancers in the lower class were frequently left until the patient was dead or nearly dead, and once they got to medical care (if they ever did), they were curiosities to be marveled at, by simply still being alive. Because of this, many of the very severe cases that eventually made it to medical care after ca. 1850 were well documented, both in terms of being photographed and having the clinical presentations documented.