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Homeopathic Approaches to Cancer
Those of you who read my comments on the sad events of Sept 11 would remember that I likened Terrorism to Cancer.

The first speaker stated "Cancer is like a terrorist hiding in the body."

She said that cancer's root cause was suppression of Rights, Emotions and others like vaccination. There is a fear associated with it - Where is it coming from and when is it going to end (We can ask the same questions about terrorism too).

Cancer cells lose their boundary limits - multiply rapidly and invade others and this rebellion does not know when to stop. There is a problem with the immune system because the bodies defence system is unable to recognise the 'self' cells that are acting against the whole (In effect MI5/MI6 or FBI/CIA failing to recognise terrorists).

What is the reaction? We use WAR metaphors - you FIGHT cancer (same as the reaction to terrorism you fight Terrorism). This means that we are not dealing with the cause and the end result is Metastases (or more terrorism).

Experience has shown that VERY rarely a patient with cancer will opt for treatment by Homoeopathy alone (How many reading this article would in such circumstances only use Homoeopathy?). As practitioners we therefore have to put up with the effects of Chemo/Radiation therapy often as a mixture.

We can certainly give remedies to reduce the effects of the poisoning by these modes of treatment such as exhaustion and vomiting (It was said that Cad Sulph has advantages over Ars). However, a word of WARNING must be given now. When Homoeopathy is given to patients, the oncologists may become confused because the patient is doing much better than expected under the doses of chemotherapy. So often they increase the dose - further poisoning the patient (Sometimes beyond the point of no-return).

It was said that various remedies are sometimes called upon such as Carcinocin (when things have become stuck), Hydrastis to shrink the tumour, Chel to support the liver during the onslaught of Chemo therapy; Sol for radiation burns, Avena Sativa for insomnia etc.

It was pointed out that it was important that underlying causes needed to receive attention; it was necessary to treat the acutes (fears etc) that suddenly come up.

The patient with cancer needs to receive tender loving care but boundaries MUST be recognised, one has to learn to put up with the out-pourings of emotions from the patient and their family and one's own self. It must be recognised that if thing become worrying the pt may abandon Homoeopathy and go for conventional therapy. This must be understood and accepted on a personal basis and not regarded as desertion.

You need to be prepared to deal with own emotions especially if the patient is terminal and is in a hospice (they still need support). Be wise to their needs and if they cannot visit you, then visit them.


Second speaker: When dealing with Patients with cancer, one is often dealing with someone who is at the end of their tethers. Lots of emotions and fears.

It was pointed out that it was quite legal for Homoeopaths to treat patients with cancer as we treat the patient and not the disease. but we MUST NOT prevent them from receiving conventional treatment and must not increase the anxiety of the patient or their relatives. The family dynamic must also be observed as this is sometime one of the key symptoms of the situation or the core of the disease.

We need to find the totality, we must recognise what we are treating, what is to be cured and is it curable?

Conventional treatment also lays down a lot of false trails that break off leading to nowhere - It makes it hard to trace the patient's picture - so if you can start taking your case before Chemo/Rad treatment so much the better (We don't often have this luxury).

We also need to support the patient through Chemo - either they hate it, or they think it is their saviour.

We must also be clear in our own mind about the processes of life/death and dying and letting-go. We must consider the issues of dying for the patient - the family issues and conflicts that need to be resolved. The Homoeopath may not have the full picture of these conflicts - or even the patient's disease - or the patient's real wishes.

A good case resolution (even in death) may be a solution for the family.

Seek personal counselling if you are troubled. We have to be able to put up with the aftermaths of death of the patient.

Patient's personal care also comes into question. For example what to do if a patient with lung cancer still smokes. Do not chastise but find out what it means to them to smoke or to drink etc - this may help you in finding out what is going on in your patient's mind.


Third speaker:

Treating a pt with cancer is probably the first experience of treating someone who is dying. The management of one's own emotions is vitally important. Do not suppress them, talk about them.

What can we offer homeopaths:
- There is little solid research and clinical trails
- Homoeopathy and Breast cancer (now UK's No 1 cancer killer) will be discussed at the next conference.
- There is however significant case data
- Good articles in back issues of The Homoeopath esp No 59 and 70.

The best result were achieved by those who had had surgery and the Homoeopathy (no Chemo/Rad). [Kent: Homoeopathy first and then surgery followed by more Homoeopathy] Surgery itself can cause post operative trauma and disfigurement - esp if it is to the visible areas such as head/face or hands.

Another emotional issue that was discussed was the reaction of the family after death. There is often anger and sense of loss etc. But interestingly some family members (wives etc) do not come to seek homoeopathic help because they associate the Homoeopath with the lost one. It may be 12 or 18 months before they come to see the Homoeopath.

In terms of providing information to the patients, it was said that the older patients required little info where as the younger patients needed lots of information and wanted to be actively part of the treatment.

A fine balance must also be made between not appearing pessimistic and not raising false hope. But new/workable diversions of HOPE are workable and there is process of hope maintenance:

These are:
- Hope for a cure
- Hope for successful containment
- Hope for prolongation of life
- Hope for peaceful death.

One must learn to be able to let go of hopes when they start to become false premises, but always build on an atmosphere of HOPE and progress.


We then had group discussions with the following questions to be discussed:

Effective remedies; a strong sense of support; information

Nutritional support - Supplements, foods that help with various problems etc
Financial support - If necessary arrange for fees to be paid over weeks as often Patients with cancer are in financial difficulty. They need to be seen for short periods often. A colleague said he says to them "I don't want to add bankruptcy to the stresses and anxieties you may have already." The patient's response will then guide you on how to proceed.

Prognosis in a homoeopathic case is difficult to make. It all depends on the vitality of the patient.
Accept the medical diagnosis and work on it. But tests although valuable are not 100% reliable.
Give choice to the patient and give them feed back. Advise them of the rate of progress.

With honesty and sensitivity. Pre-warn and inform is the key. Especially around the questions of Return of Old Symptoms (which may involve tumours developing in other parts) Empower the patient.

There are emotions from the patient, e.g. anger, disappointment, despair, need of support. There are physical problem, disfigurement, hair loss, sickness and diarrhoea Sense of loss and anger when patient make a choice not favoured by us. We still have to give them support through it and the consequences afterwards. Do not blame!!

Am I able to cope with this?
Should I carry on or refer to someone else?
When choices are put in front of the patient it is worth while to consider "What would I do with that choice?
" Is it a death sentence for the patient?
What is it about me that I am attracting so many cancer patients?
Can I handle the emotional responsibilities?
Am I handling my time and boundaries properly?
Do I need supervision?
Do I need moral support?
Am I feeling alone?
What has happened if a patient with on going Homeopathic treatment is diagnosed with cancer?

Some new publications on this issue:
A Homoeopathic approach to cancer by AU Ramikrishnan & Catherine Coulter Quality Medical Publishing, 2001.
Abandon all hope all ye who enter here. C Ong - Journal of Alternative and Complimentary Medicine Vol 7 N0.3 2001, pp 289-294
The journey through cancer : An oncologist's seven-level programme for healing and transforming the whole person - Jeremy Geffen - Crown publishers, New York, 2000
Integrated Cancer Care - Jennifer Barraclough (Ed) - OUP 2001.
A new Homoeopathic approach to neoplastic diseases: From cell destruction to carcinogen induced apoptosis H Montford, British Homoeopathic Journal, Vol 89, April 2000 pp 78-83.
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