Dr Abdul Gafar
Cancer or Malignancy has a unique but indeed repulsive status among maladies that affect us. There are a number of reasons for this.
First of all it is the stigma attached with it. Unlike other potentially fatal diseases it destroys the self confidence of the person affected by it to such an extent that there will be a permanent change in the self image of the patient. Even though cancer is only the second leading cause of death after heart diseases there is much difference between the self images of a patient with a cured cancer and a cured myocardial ischemia.
The second reason lies in the peculiar pathophysiology of cancer. As we know most of the diseases occur because the specialized cells in our body fail to perform their assigned tasks. Whereas cancer takes this malfunction a little further. In cancer not only is there a failure of these cells to maintain their specialized function, but they also strikes out on their own; the cancer cell competes to survive using natural mutability and natural selection to seek advantage over normal cells as in a replay of the evolution. The result of this traitorous behavior of cancer cells is that the patient feels betrayed by his or her own body. These patients feel that they are the diseased ones rather than just a body part or organ of theirs.
The third reason is the quality of cancer for metastasis. By this process cancer cells spread far and wide, in many instances getting out of control of the treatment team and in a good number of cases springing up a surprise attack when and where we least expect.
All these make cancer the most dreaded of among diseases- not only to common public but even to learned physicians despite the fact that modern advancements in medicine has made two out of three cancers curable, to some extent.
Prevention of cancer
Now a days more stress is given at preventing cancer. Our knowledge of carcinogenesis has given us many tools for this. Carcinogenesis is not simply an event or a point in the history of the patient but rather a process, an evolution of discrete cellular changes over a period of time resulting in more and more autonomy in cellular activities. These ultimately end up in the breaking out of cancer that we perceive. Thus, prevention emphasizes the identification and manipulation of these genetic, biologic, and environmental factors in the cascade that is the causal pathway of cancer. Following is a brief description of the steps practiced in cancer prevention at present.
Health Education and Healthy Habits
Undoubtedly public education is the number one step in cancer prevention as in any other diseases. Awareness on the avoidance of identified risk factors and encouraging healthy habits not only among risk groups but in common public too contributes much to cancer prevention and its control. The General Physician is a powerful messenger in this campaign as they are the primary as well as the most frequent contact point for the public. The GP can effectively educate patients about the avoidable health hazards like smoking or exposure to sun and promote the benefits of a healthy lifestyle (including diet and exercise) etc. They can also advocate the use of and administer proven cancer screening methods as well as advice patients regarding possible methods for prophylaxis of cancer.
Cessation of Smoking.
This gives more benefits than any other single step in cancer prevention. It does not much affect the incidence of recurrence in patients who had lung cancer once. But stopping smoking significantly reduces the chances of lung cancer in those who are not yet affected by it. Reducing and terminating the use of other tobacco products also help to reduce the incidence of many oropharyngeal cancers.
Increasing Physical Activity
Exercises and other physical activity seem to have a good role in preventing many cancers. For example it is evident that increased physical activity is associated with a decreased risk of colon and breast cancer. This result is obtained by a moderate physical activity for about 20 minutes, three to four times a week, even though the exact reason for this is not fully explained satisfactorily.
It is well established that a high fiber diet helps in preventing many cancers especially that of colon. Besides international epidemiologic studies suggests that diets high in fat are associated with increased risk for cancers of the breast, colon, prostate, and endometrium. Another finding is that foods cooked over direct high heat as well as smoked and sizzled foods increases the risk of cancers of the alimentary canal. So is the case of reheating and reusing oil. Aspartame- used in sugar free products, monosodium glutamate (ajinomoto) etc. are also known carcinogens.
BMR and cancer seems to have linked. Risks of specific cancers increase as body mass index increases over 25 kg/m2. Obesity increases risks for cancers such as that of the colon, breast, endometrium, kidney, esophagus etc. Here also the exact mechanism is not explained satisfactorily.
Direct and prolonged exposure to intense sun is a risk factor for cancer of the skin. The cumulative exposure to UV increases risk of non melanoma carcinomas. Whereas intermittent acute sun exposure and sun damage have been linked to the incidence of melanoma. It seems that sunburns, especially in childhood and adolescence, are associated with increased risk of melanoma in adulthood.
Interventional Prophylaxis of Cancer.
Besides the above mentioned non-specific methods there are also specific interventional modalities employed in cancer prevention. These are chemoprevention, surgical prophylaxis and screening.
This is the use of specific natural or synthetic chemical agents to reverse, suppress, or prevent carcinogenesis before the development of perceivable malignancy.
The potential points of intervention in the prevention of cancer are the genetic and epigenetic changes in its causal pathway. These are initiation; the initial changes in the cellular behaviour, promotion; the process of initiated cells progressing through the carcinogenic process and changing phenotypically and progression; whereby it evolves fully and expresses out. Initiators and promoters can be physical and chemical agents like the smoke, tar, hormones such as androgens, estrogen etc. In chemoprevention cancer can be prevented or controlled by interfering with the factors that cause cancer initiation, promotion, or progression. The agents used for chemoprevention are substances having antimutagenic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiproliferative, or pro-apoptotic activity (or a combination of these). We may call them ‘retrocarcinogenetic’ agents.
For example it has seen that premalignant lesions in the oropharyngeal area have responded well to retinol, alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E), and selenium. Also results of early clinical trials suggest that nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as piroxicam, sulindac and aspirin may prevent adenoma formation or cause regression of adenomatous polyps even though their action is unknown. Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) inhibitors may be even more effective in this regard. Tamoxifen acts as an antiestrogen and thus reduces the chance for breast cancer and Selenium is being tested as a prostate cancer preventive. Note that until now there is no definite and direct link between the said agents and carcinosis and further study to define the activity of these agents is ongoing.
Another area of chemoprevention is vaccination. It seems that several infections can lead to the development of carcinosis. So it is postulated that prevention of these diseases by vaccination can effectively prevent possible carcinosis too.
But one interesting finding is that some known antioxidants and other apparently anti carcinogenic agents have been found to be actually inducing cancers or increasing its incidence. Also note that in case-controlled clinical trials using the agents mentioned above even though the agents seems to be capable of inducing retrocarcinogenesis in a number of subjects, the virulence of cancer in subjects who actually developed cancer despite taking these agents was much stronger than the placebo group! Then, the adverse and unwanted effects of vaccines are always a controversy even within the allopathic medical circle.
Some organs in some persons have the increased tendency to attract cancer. This can be triggered by some diseases as well. For example there is increased chance for colon cancer in some individuals and this can get triggered by familial polyposis or ulcerative colitis. In such persons surgical removal of the organ or organs is advised and practiced as cancer prophylaxis. In another example orchiectomy is found to be effective for androgen deprivation in prostate cancer. Similarly oophorectomy is effective in hormone-dependent breast cancer.
Screening is aimed at detecting malignancy early in asymptomatic individuals so that the morbidity and mortality can be reduced. So, in the strict sense it is not a prophylactic method. But considering the overall benefit it offers in the long run it is worth mentioning screening here under cancer prevention. This is usually done in high-risk population.
Some of the screening tests are sigmoidoscopy (colon cancer), breast clinical examination along with mammography (breast cancer), fecal occult blood testing (GI tract cancer), prostate-specific antigen (prostate cancer) etc. There are a number of genetic testing also.
There is one more method that offers a better result in preventing cancer and is almost hundred percent safe in itself. We will discuss about it below.
Cancer and Homoeopathy
Cancer in situ is incurable by any means of treatment, according to my philosophy. That is ‘to cure as it is termed’. If you look at it closely one can see that the currently practiced surgical recession, chemotherapy and radiation (or a combination of all these) is not curing cancer. These interventions only provide an increased life expectancy to the individual. Even that comes with a heavy cost. See that with cancer the individual is living a life with moderate to sever suffering for some period and end up in death. By surgical recession the individual loses a vital part of the body and live for a longer period with the minimal to moderate suffering due the loss of that part of the body and end up in death. The same is the case of chemotherapy or radiation considering the severe intense suffering they produce. So in terms of quality of life cancer, once it affects an individual is a turning point in his or her life and remain with them for ever.
This is even true with the conventionally practiced cancer prophylaxis methods as you can see from above. All these methods carry the same disadvantage and risk factors for cancer treatment too.
Whereas there is one method that offers the best result without any of the disadvantages mentioned above. That is the method of ‘good living’. It includes not only healthy food and healthy habits but the practice of complete good living. To understand it better one should first understand the process of carcinogenesis. As mentioned earlier carcinogenesis is a complex and slowly evolving process. Retrocarcinogenesis is the arrest and reversal of this process at any point in its evolution, provided it is before the actual onset of cancer. As carcinogenesis is influenced by many factors that are part of daily life a true method to induce retrocarcinogenesis should also include all these factors. Here is the importance complete good living. Due to space constraint I am not explaining the method of complete good living here, but will go on to other topics.
Next in line in cancer prevention after complete good living is Homoeopathy. In fact in this regard homoeopathy is not a separate modality but a complementary to complete good living. Consider the following facts.
Homoeopathy being a holistic medicine stresses the importance of ‘accounting the patient as a whole’. The ‘individuality’ of the individual is the single most important parameter in homoeopathic case taking. Homoeopathic case taking and case management ‘enforces good living’. Homeopathic medicines being ‘dynamic’ in nature have penetrating power unthinkable to other medical agents so that they can touch the core of the individual and make changes there. These medicines are ‘non-invasive’ in character and in most of the cases the amount of drugs is less than negligible and so as such these are not disturbing the harmony of life. Last but not the least homoeopathy tackles and cures many diseases in day to day work those have the potential to contribute to carcinogenesis. Some of these diseases might actually develop in to cancer if not treated properly from the beginning.
To sum up the above facts homoeopathy induces retrocarcinogenesis directly and indirectly and that also in a manner not compromising the quality of life. So considering the importance of the dictum prevention is better than cure, the present trend of enforcing good living and understanding the difficulty and often the impossibility of curing cancer we should give much more advertisement to the capacity of homoeopathy as a better retrocarcinogenetic.
I am not discounting the chance of homoeopathy curing cancer. But as mentioned earlier the cure (as it is termed) of cancer is a highly complex process and involves the reversal of carcinogenesis as well. So because of reasons stated above homeopathy can cure cancer except for the known and proven dictum that homoeopathy cannot work in areas of advanced pathological destruction. Cancer from the early stages itself is obviously connected with advanced pathology. Also note that homoeopathy as a rule never work against the nature. So any cure of cancer even with the help of homoeopathy should be considered a miracle. There are climes from different quarters about cancer cures by homoeopathy. Well, it can be possible in cases with early detection and in well preserved individuals and also if there is a good indication to the similimum.
Another area of the feasibility of homoeopathy in cancer is in palliation. Presently great amount of money and manpower is pumped in to palliative modalities. Most of these are for cancer patients. Unfortunately under conventional medicine the maximum that can be done is to induce sedation by heavy doses of opioids. We have to also consider that the treatment of cancer itself is inducing so much pain that palliation is applicable there too. Conventionally the same type of pain palliation is practiced there too.
Whereas in homoeopathy we have medicines that are really good at pain relieving. Along with this homoeopathic medicines can remove other discomforts of cancer too. Like the general malaise, anorexia, nausea, vomiting, weakness, fever etc. This is especially true with patients undergoing conventional treatment for cancer. Many patients reported relatively symptom free episodes of chemotherapy or radiation therapy when they had homoeopathic medicines while having the other treatment.
We can group the choice of homoeopathic medicines for cancer palliation in to two. The first and the best one is the similimum. Then there are a few medicines that are having pain as the major symptom and so can be used as a blind resort.
One should go through the entire process of detailed case taking and repertoriastion to obtain similimum in cancer also. This is to be observed especially in difficult cases as regards to scarcity of symptom. Look for concomitants and negative generals as a first resort in such cases. Constitutional and miasmatic ones and modalities also give good assistance. Pathological and local symptoms come next only. The choice of potency depends on individual homoeopaths. Though lower potencies repeated in reasonable intervals seem to be faring better in the initial stages of treatment that also in advanced conditions. The repetition should be done on a wait and watch basis. Higher potencies and longer waiting periods come in if the case responds and the general tendency is towards cure. Fifty millesimal potencies (between 0/1 to 0/6) are a good choice and have given very good results in many cases.
Generally it is seen that drugs those have a greater tendency for destruction work well in cancer both for palliation or cure. Toxic metals like Arsenic, Phosphorus, poisons like Lachesis, Crotalus, acids like Acid. nit., Acid. sulph. etc. are very effective.
As for the second group of pain palliation Calendula, Chamomilla, Condurango, Echinacea, Euphorbinum, Nux vomica, Piscidium, Radium brom., Tarantula cub., X-ray etc. can be useful. It is worth mentioning again that if one have some symptom similarity also for the selection of these drugs it will work wonderfully. Many of these drugs when given to patients undergoing chemotherapy or radiation have prevented or removed most of the discomfort usually associated with the treatment. These include the general malaise, anorexia, diarrhea and even hair loss besides pain.
Drugs like Carcinosin, Medorrhinum or Thuja can be used as intercurrent even for palliation.
To conclude- homoeopathy should be projected as the best choice for cancer prevention, work definitely as the best choice for cancer palliation and can even work in cancer cure!
Dr. Abdul Gafar
R.M.O.Govt. Dist. Homoeopathy Hospital. Malapuram.
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