Homeopathy and Cancer

 

  • The holistic view of cancer
  • Homeopathy and the shock of diagnosis plus going for tests
  • Getting the most out of your medical care, dietary and other supportive measures
  • Homeopathy and chemotherapy
  • Homeopathy and radiotherapy
  • Homeopathy and surgery
  • Bach Flower Remedies
  • Recommended reading and details of a women’s cancer support group in Athens

As you read the following please note that self prescribing in the case of cancer is not recommended and a qualified practitioner whom you trust and feel comfortable with should be sought.

  • Please feel free to email me directly with any personal experiences or tips, which you feel, could also be passed on to other readers at: info@healingwings.net

Thank you for reading, I hope the following pages bring you inspiration and courage.

The holistic view of the cancer

The holistic view of cancer differs quite widely from the conventional one. It looks upon cancer as something that has come from within and is in fact part of the body (given that it is our own cells that start to multiply and spread). This change from normal cells to abnormal is the aspect that holistic therapies seek to address, whereas conventional treatment is largely based on removing the abnormal cells, in essence that is, to remove the result of the imbalance.

The predisposing factors for the development of cancer are multiple such as lifestyle, diet, exposure to certain chemicals, mental and emotional stresses and family history. All these factors contribute to a large extent, as well as the general susceptibility of the person. All complementary therapies, whether homeopathy, acupuncture, reflexology or Chinese herbal medicine seek to address the original imbalance and support the immune system to help bring the cancer under control by itself.

The holistic view is that cancer is the result of an imbalance in the body. If the cancer is removed surgically, by chemotherapy or radiotherapy this is considered a victory in conventional terms. However, what can be said then of the number of people who relapse months or years later, the cancer re-appearing either in the same place or perhaps a new location? In holistic terms this is easy to explain, in that, removing the cancer surgically or by other means is only in effect addressing the ‘result’ of the imbalance i.e. the growth itself but not the reason the cancer developed in the body initially. If this can be addressed alongside conventional medicine then the survival rate and the future health of the patient can be vastly improved.

Homeopathy has numerous applications in cancer cases and in cancer prevention. These run beyond what can be written about here and whilst there are many documented cancer cases that have responded curatively to homeopathy, the information you find in the following pages is only intended to highlight the role of homeopathy as a complementary therapy in such instances when you are already following a conventional medical approach. The aim is also to offer further advice of other useful and supportive measures.

Cancer - Homeopathy and the shock of diagnosis  

The diagnosis of cancer is an incredible shock to any individual who has received this news and it may be accompanied by many mixed emotions. Homeopathy can be used in such instances to address this shock and help the person come to terms more readily with the challenging path that he or she has to face. There are many homeopathic prescriptions which can be used upon first diagnosis when some of the following emotional states may be prevalent:

  • feelings of shock and disbelief
  • anger and questions such as ‘why me?’
  • tearful states and depression
  • withdrawal and inability to cry despite the wish to do so
  • fears related to further hospital tests or procedures
  • fears related to dying or suffering
  • anxiety about burdening others such as family members or friends

All of the above are very natural reactions and each person responds in his/her own individual way. Homeopathy itself can be very helpful and your homeopath will also provide an impartial listening ear. However you may also choose to seek the assistance of a counselor, psychotherapist or other specialist in whom you trust to talk about your feelings at this time. Cancer support groups can also provide a very safe environment in which you can express your feelings honestly and also receive the support from others who can share their experiences with you.

Besides homeopathy, please see further below details concerning some of the Bach Flower remedies which may also be helpful.

Going for hospital tests  

When going for tests try and make sure your partner or a trusted friend accompanies you for support and to drive you home if you might not feel up to it afterwards. If you have to return for repeated tests, biopsies, more invasive examinations these are all very stressful and waiting for the results may take days or longer. This period can generate a lot of anxiety.

Whilst it is important to be realistic it is also best to try not to dwell too heavily on what may or may not be. The mind and body link is exceptionally strong and it is very common for people who have had little or no symptoms prior to having tests/receiving a diagnosis to suddenly develop a full array of symptoms during this time. Once the mind believes the body is sick then the body more readily succumbs.

In order to help keep your anxiety levels down, find what you like to do most and do it. Perhaps it is meditation, maybe it is spending more time with your partner or seeing a close friend, perhaps it is renting your favourite comedy series on DVD and watching it back to back. Maybe a change of scene would help, a good book, some nice music or a massage. You might not feel like doing any of the above but it is better to distract the mind a little bit, believe it or not it will help you to cope better during this period, and this in turn will support the body.

If you are especially anxious, please discuss this with your homeopath as there are prescriptions available which can help. Also consider the Bach Flower Remedies (below).

Homeopathy can also help you recover faster after certain invasive tests such as a barium enema or colonoscopy which due to a marked loss of fluids can be very debilitating.

Getting the most out of your medical care, dietary and other supportive measures  

 

  1. Following diagnosis there is often pressure to make a decision about treatment. Whilst it is true that time is of the essence, it is also true that a decision made in haste or under duress may further negatively impact your health especially if you have regrets afterwards, therefore:
    Do not be rushed into a treatment decision which could affect the rest of your life.Take some time to research your treatment options, through books, the internet and through speaking to others who have had similar experiences. Seek a second and third opinion if necessary. Pay attention to your body and how each treatment option sits with you, for example if you keep a dream diary this can often help uncover your hidden feelings and guide you towards the treatment option that is acceptable to you. After all you will recover faster if you are ready to embrace and accept the treatment offered rather than feeling resistance to it.

  2. Choose your physician and hospital carefully. For example, women with breast cancer often receive more specialized care from a unit that deals solely with breast cancer. Do not be afraid to change your doctor if you are not satisfied with the level of care you are getting. Also remember that a doctor who is supportive, who shows sympathy and understanding and is willing to give you time to answer your questions honestly and allay your fears is worth his/her weight in gold.

  3. Do not be afraid to ask questions, sometimes it may even be necessary to challenge a proposed treatment based on your own research. Remember after all that new treatment possibilities are being discovered all the time and your doctor may not be aware of them.Research any proposed drugs very thoroughly, remember drug information leaflets only give basic information about possible side effects. They will not usually detail for example if there have been any deaths related to the drug neither will your doctor usually divulge such information! From a full internet search which will access medical journals you can then weigh up whether the possible benefits outweigh the risk of your taking the drug.

  4. Illness often has much to teach us. Try and view your illness as your friend from which you have something to learn. It takes a lot of energy to see it as an enemy that must be fought. As much as possible take time to rest, to pursue the things which bring you pleasure. Your biggest fears may never materialize, therefore try to set them to the
    back of your mind and live as much as possible in the present moment.

  5. Eat a good, balanced (preferably organic) diet, rich in Vitamin A (all orange fruits and vegetables, carrots, squash, apricots contain the pigment B-carotene which forms Vitamin A in the body). Vitamin C (oranges, lemons, grapefruit, strawberries and surprisingly potatoes!), Vitamin E (lettuce, alfalfa, sunflower seeds, vegetable oils such as wheatgerm, sunflower, corn and peanut).  Also include plenty of fiber (nuts and whole grain cereals, lentils, beans).As much as possible keep to a minimum or preferably stop altogether your intake of alcohol, caffeine and refined sugars. Some radical raw food diets are sometimes recommended.  Be aware of how your bodytolerates raw food.  For some it may be helpful, for others though it may be  like putting an uncooked pie (the food) into an unheated oven (your body). Your body may be currently too depleted to muster the energy to ‘heat the oven’ in order to break down and absorb the nutrients it needs from the food.

  6. Consider yoga, meditation, visualization or other forms of gentle exercise/spiritual pursuits that are designed to strengthen the body and mind. 

  7. Vitamins supplements which will be supportive to the body include:
    Vitamin C (anti-oxidant)
    Vitamin B Complex (with all the B vitamins combined) - will help combat stress and
     support the energy requirements of the body
    Vitamin E  (anti-oxidant)
    Beta Carotene (anti-oxidant, some evidence suggests therapeutic benefit in pre-cancerous cells)
    Selenium (anti-oxidant, anti-cancer, immune system strengthening nutrient)
    whilst this is found in foods such as whole grains, tuna, beef, egg noodles and mushrooms it is dependent on the selenium content of the soil and so plant and land animal sources may be deficient.
    Zinc (trace element supports immune system)
    Herbal Essiac - a herbal supplement found to be helpful for those with cancer It contains herbs which help strengthen the immune system and is reputed to also help reduce the side effects of chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

    See:  www.canadianhealthproducts.com (this form of Essiac is the one which is
    normally available in health food shops both here and abroad).  It contains Iodine so
    should be used with caution by anyone with a thyroid condition.

Free radicals are oxygenated compounds, which are a result of the consumption of oxygen in the body’s cells.  Anti-oxidants help protect against damage caused by free radicals by binding and neutralizing them.
 
With all of the above check with your pharmacist or doctor that they are not contraindicated if you are taking other medications.

Homeopathy and chemotherapy  

Chemotherapy is the use of cytotoxic drugs which are given with the aim of destroying the cancer cells. However, they damage the healthy cells of the body at the same time as they target the cancer cells. Reactions to the drugs and combinations vary from person to person but homeopathy can help reduce these reactions which can include the following:

  • nausea and vomiting
  • diarrhoea
  • mouth ulcers
  • rashes
  • bone marrow suppression

Please note that whilst homeopathy is often useful in general cases of alopecia (hair loss) it is not likely to help with the hair loss resulting from chemotherapy. This is because these drugs tend to especially affect the rapidly dividing skin cells and hair follicles.

Chemotherapy may result in low levels of magnesium, supplementation should be discussed with your doctor.

Homeopathy and radiotherapy  

Radiotherapy is the use of doses of radiation which are directed to a specific area with the intention of damaging the cancer cells in that area.

Homeopathy is particularly beneficial in easing the discomfort of local skin reactions which can occur. These can include inflammation, slight oedema (swelling), redness (erythema) similar to a sunburn, or in more extreme cases blistering and peeling of the skin. Anyone undergoing radiotherapy is unable to use any deodrants, perfumes or lotions on the treated area and may often find it difficult to deal with the skin symptoms whilst avoiding topical relief.

There are a number of homeopathic remedies which are useful for burns, your homeopath would choose the most suitable and this taken internally will bring relief from discomfort and/or pain and speed healing. The homeopathic medicine does not interfere with radiotherapy or any other conventional medications which have been prescribed.

Effects of radiation
Homeopathic remedies are also available to counteract the damaging effects of radiation on the body, please see your homeopathic practitioner.

Supplements which may help reduce the effects of radiation on the body include:

Methionine (amino acid)
Cystine (amino acid)


Homeopathy can be used alongside conventional treatment, it will not in any way interfere with it. On the contrary however as treatments such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy are very powerful they may affect the ability of the homeopathic medicine to work as effectively as it might otherwise be able to.

 

Homeopathy and surgery  

 

If surgery becomes necessary there are a number of steps you can take prior to surgery to help speed your recovery.

Homeopathic remedies are prescribed on an individual basis but most of you will be familiar with the homeopathic remedy Arnica which has many beneficial properties including helping to prevent haemorrhage and also healing bruises and trauma. In fact it is common for people, after using Arnica, to use less pain-relief medication in the postoperative period. Your practitioner will discuss dosage and potency with you and whether other prescriptions are indicated in cases such as breast surgery, orthopedic surgery, trauma to the spleen, liver or uterus and bladder or urethral procedures.

Other homeopathic prescriptions may be necessary if you have reacted badly to the general anaesthetic with symptoms such as nausea or vomiting or a feeling of being disorientated or in a daze for a prolonged period afterwards.

Breast cancer and reconstructive surgery  


In breast cancer cases a number of other remedies are indicated which will heal on a deeper level than Arnica alone. This needs to be discussed on an individual basis with your homeopathic practitioner.

In the case of breast reconstruction homeopathy can help with:

  • pain
  • adhesions and scar tissue

Supplements to be considered prior to surgery include:
Vitamin C and Zinc which support wound healing. Vitamin E oil can be applied to the incision (check with your surgeon as to when this will be possible).
Pineapple Bromelain also helps with the swelling and prevention of bruising.

Please look under recommended reading. Dr Christiane Northrup has a section entitled ‘How to Prepare for Surgery and Heal Faster’, which is well worth reading. In addition ‘Reike’, a hands on healing technique can also be beneficial. You should ask your Reike practitioner to see you at the hospital before and as soon as possible postoperatively to help induce a feeling of calm acceptance for the procedure and to enhance the bodies own healing process.

Bach Flower Remedies  

In addition you may also find some relief from the Bach Flower Remedies which work on the emotional states and are available in most good health food shops and some pharmacies.
These can be self prescribed and can used as often as required and like homeopathy do not interfere with any prescription medication which your doctor may have already prescribed. Ideally you should choose your own but here are some examples which may be helpful:

 

  • Rescue Remedy is a combination which is used in all emotionally unsettling situations
  • Star of Bethlehem is used in cases of shock, fear or grief. It may be helpful after the initial diagnosis.
  • Agrimony is indicated if you are trying to put on a brave face for others.
  • Gorse is indicated should you feel utter hopelessness or despair.
  • White Chestnut can help with constant worries and thoughts.
  • Mimulus may help with feeling apprehensive prior to hospital tests/treatments or surgery.
  • Scleranthus can help if you are weighing up treatment options and are very undecided.
  • Walnut is very helpful when facing major life changes and may help give you the courage to follow your convictions if others are not supporting your treatment choices.
  • Crab apple is used for those who have issues resulting from poor self image and may help if your body has been disfigured in any way after surgery such as for breast cancer.
  • Olive can help generally if you feel both physically and mentally exhausted.

Bush Flower Essences (come from Australia)

Spinifex is indicated when there is a sense of being a victim to illness.

Recommended reading

 

A Homeopathic Approach To Cancer Dr A Ramakrishnan/Catherine Coulter
This is not intended as a self help guide but will give you numerous examples of both cured and palliated cancer cases using homeopathy. The cases focus on cancers affecting nearly every system of the body.

Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom Christiane Northrup, M.D.
Bantam Books (www.bantamdell.com)
Very helpful for any woman going through cancer of the cervix, uterus, ovaries or breast.
Contains ‘Creating Health Through Surgery’, also ‘Steps for Healing’ which I recommend for anyone who is facing cancer or any other illness.

The Journey Brandon Bays
Element (www.thorsonselement.com)
Story of one woman’s work to address her cancer by tapping into her emotional and physical blocks which were at the heart of its development. CD’s can be purchased which accompany the book.

Living Proof (a medical mutiny) Michael Gearin-Tosh
Scribner UK (www.simonsays.co.uk)
Book written in diary form of one man’s battle with cancer. It includes information about using visualization, the Gerson therapy and more. Very inspiring and will echo many a patients’ experience with medical professionals.

Why People Don’t Heal and How they Can Caroline Mess, Ph.D.
Three Rivers Press (www.randomhouse.com)
Offers encouragement for those in need of healing, to get past old wounds and get healthy.

Quantum Healing Deepak Chopra
This book looks further at the mind and body link and discusses cases where the strength of the mind has been instrumental in recovery.

Beyond Illness, Discovering the Experience of Health Larry Dossey
Shambala, Airlift

A Year to Live Stephen Levine
Thorsons.

Women’s Cancer Support Group - here in Athens
This is held monthly at the Neo Humanist Centre in Maroussi
Tel: 210 806 0389 or email: info@neohumanist.net

Thank you once again for reading and I would like to leave you with a wonderful quote from Caroline Myss in her book ‘Anatomy of the Spirit’ :

‘We thrive and we heal in ecstatic moments when our spirits become stronger than our bodies and our bodies respond to the commands of our spirits.’

Marie Woodward