HOMEOPATHY AND CANCER
From The Cancer Chronicles #29
Homeopathy is a medical philosophy based on the principle of "like cures like." It most frequently involves the use of tinctures of natural origin, such as herbs. But often these are diluted so greatly that nothing but an indefinable hint of the original substance remains.
Q. In the best-selling book, The Family Guide to Homeopathy, it flatly states, "Cancer treatment is beyond the realm of homeopathy." This book suggests it can only be used as a palliative or adjunctive treatment. Do you agree?
A. No. But this statement has to be looked at in perspective. First of all, it is evident when we look at the old homeopathic journals that cancer was formerly and often treated successfully. However, the laws of many states in this country dictate that the doctor has to advocate the present guidelines for cancer treatment.
Q. What is the situation in other countries?
A. In India many cancer patients are cured among the poor population, where homeopathy is the only help available. In fact, success probably increases in patients who have not undergone radiation or chemotherapy, since these treatments compromise the vital energy of the patient. There is also no doubt that in many countries homeopathy is of great help in incurable cases, in limiting pain and helping people to die with dignity and with less anxiety.
Q. You have stated that certain tests will show whether or not a cancer patient is curable or incurable. Please elaborate on the nature of these tests.
A. It is not some special tests that predict if a cure is obtainable in cancer, but the way the patient reacts to the well-selected remedy. I explain this in Human Condition: Critical. If the patient reacts very little to the remedy or only a few of the symptoms improve, if no sense of well-being can be obtained and the patient always returns to the previous state after a short, incomplete improvementthen this is a sign of a lowered vital energy. It means we are unlikely to be able to help that patient very much, in terms of cure.
Q. But homeopathy acknowledges that illnesses can follow from "hearing bad news." Isn't there a danger in making such results known to patients? How do you handle this?
A. In many circumstances, hearing bad news is indeed a great shock to the patient and detrimental to their immune system. But that does not mean that you have to conceal the diagnosis or prognosis. The main thing is that the doctor should see who the patient is. For instance, there is no sense in telling an 85-year-old patient that he is incurable and has five months to live. I feel that such predictions should never be made.
Good homeopathic physicians know the constitution of their patient and will use it to select the answer for that patient. And they are aware that the manner in which the news is delivered can be very hard on the patient. The doctor can also select an excellent homeopathic remedy for "hearing bad news" to immediately counteract the bad effects. Just last week I had such a patient who was completely down and depressed for 14 days. She had no courage or hope to fight the disease. Yet after one visit, and the intake of a remedy called gelsemium, she found peace, good sleep, and plenty of energy to make decision in the fight against cancer.
Q. When you say a patient is "incurable" do you mean that nothing is likely to save them, or do you mean that the patient is incurable by the methods of homeopathy? Do you make such a distinction? Should an incurable patient therefore give up searching for an effective treatment?
A. Calling an illness "incurable" relies not just on reactions to homeopathy, but on pathology, the strongest aspect of conventional medicine. But on the other hand many "incurable" conditions, as diagnosed solely by conventional medicine, have been cured by homeopathy. Patients should never give up the search for effective treatments. And there are plenty of other healing methods besides homeopathy that have brought about long-term remissions in cancer (e.g., visualization).
Q. You have stated that if a patient is curable you can cure him/her through the use of homeopathy, while if the patient is incurable you can make him or her more comfortable. Is there any "standard" treatment of cancer by homeopathy? Please explain step by step what a "typical" treatment consists of? Can you give some examples of patients you have successfully treated?
A.There is no standard homeopathic treatment plan for cancer patients, nor in any other disease. It is very simple: homeopathy treats not diseases (or names of diseases) but patients with a disease.In other words, we don't treat cancer, but patients with cancer. This means that if we see three lung cancer patients, they all might end up taking three different remedies.
Q. Please explain more about these LM dilutions, of which you are a vocal exponent in the US. If these are so powerful, why haven't more American homeopaths adopted them?
A. The LM potencies simply are not known by about 90 percent of the practicing homeopaths in the world. This is a great pity since Samuel Hahnemann, MD [the founder of homeopathy, ed.] himself claimed them to be the best method. He worked on them for the last 12 years of his life. This method is explained in the 6th and final edition of his famous book, The Organon, but was simply not known until 1916 because Hahnemann died before it could be published. LM potencies have been used in Europe only since 1953 and in India since 1965.
Q. These LM dilutions are even more diluted than standard homeopathic preparations. How do you answer the objection that such dilutions must be either a fraud or an illusion, since there are often no molecules of the original substance left in such preparation?
A. This argument about dilutions is really not a good one. First of all, Benveniste, a scientist in France, has shown that according to Western methods the higher dilutions containing no molecules are still active. More recently, Jennifer Jacobs published a ground-breaking article in Pediatrics showing that homeopathic dilutions were effective in controlling diarrhea in children. We could site many such studies. But what is the answer of conventional science? Because they cannot explain this with the present physical laws they understand, they reject it. Who are we to say that we already know everything about physics and chemistry? What arrogance! I think rather than simply sweeping it under the rug, such findings should stimulate scientists all over the world to investigate this curious phenomenon.
Q. On a more practical note, what typically would be the cost of your treatment for a cancer patient? Is this reimbursable through insurance?
Since I am a medical doctor my treatment is generally reimbursed by insurance. The cost is simply that of an office visit. The remedies themselves cost about ten dollars for 21 days supply (by the LM method). For the more common "C" potencies the cost is about a penny per day. Ideally, even the LM treatments could be brought into that price range, because the pharmacist is essentially charging for his or her time.
Q. Since many cancer patients are too impoverished or too sick to travel to your office, what is the potential of homeopathy for self-help? How should the patient begin? Could you give some typical symptoms suffered by cancer patients with some typical remedies they might pursue (wherever possible, please give proper dilutions).
A. Homeopathy for self-help should never been done for cancer or any chronic disease. Since there are no standard treatments, it is like selecting a remedy out of 3,000 possible ones. This can only be done by a highly trained homeopath. The layperson should learn about the wonders of homeopathy and acute diseases first.
Q. You have stated that homeopathy is also useful in countering the side effects of radiation and chemotherapy. Does the patient have to consult you for this, or are there self-help substances that could be recommended?
A.Cadmium Sulph 30C and Ipecac 30C are excellent remedies that can be used by the patient to counteract the side effects (such as vomiting, nausea, fatigue) of chemotherapy and radiation. These can be obtained without prescription in many health food stores or homeopathic pharmacies.
Q. Let's say you or someone close to you had an early-stage (so-called operable) cancer. Would you treat it entirely through homeopathy or would you choose to have the tumor removed first surgically? What about radiation and chemotherapywould you ever agree to these treatments or recommend them for close friends and relatives?
A. First of all, I strongly believe that no one should make the decision on what treatment to take except the patient him- or herself. The physician's task is to be a "co-pilot," to inform the patient of all the pros and cons of different treatments (conventional and alternative). Therefore, the physician's duty is to study in depth the different methods and not reject treatment methods which (s)he has never studied. Ignorance is a crime when you treat people. And then, no matter what the patient chooses as treatment, the physician should give 100 percent support to the patient. That is our only duty.
Q. Homeopathy has a great deal to say about the basic character types. Do you think that certain "types" of people are more prone to cancer than others?
A. Indeed, certain types are more prone to cancer. These are especially the types who suppress their emotions and who have a more sensitive nature to begin with. Such types can be classified according to this very old medical system as the metal types, Phosphorus or Arsenicum in particular. In Chinese medicine these are called Fire, Water, and Metal types.
Q. How do you see the political climate for alternative cancer medicine in the United States?
A. It is paramount that doctors and patients alike should be free to choose their treatments without fear of persecution. That freedom does not exist in the US today. I know this persecution is done in the name of protecting the public, but I would rather see strict regulation of homeopathic practitioners so that it is practiced by competent doctors. Ironically, there is no doubt that in the 19th century Samuel Hahnemann had an easier time treating cancer patients than American physicians of the present day.