Cancer and Homeopathy
TAUGHT BY: André Saine, D.C., N.D., F.C.A.H.
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The Canadian Academy of Homeopathy was pleased to present this 4-day lecture in beautiful Costa Rica on February 24 to 27, 1998. Physicians from Europe, North America and Central America attended this conference.
The treatment of cancer patients presents one of the greatest challenges for the experience homeopathic physician. Throughout the history of homeopathy, physicians have reported remarkable cures of cancer patients treated with homeopathy. However, the results are not predictable and great expertise is needed to successfully treat these patients.
In this seminar, Dr. Saine presents an extensive literature review of close to 2,000 papers on the treatment of cancer and homeopathy, the result of four month’s intensive research and which is summarized in a 120 page handout.
In this seminar Dr. Saine covered:
- The homeopathic method specifically applied to the treatment of cancer patients
- Case taking
- Case analysis
- Follow up
- Strategies on how to treat cancer patients
- Prognosis with homeopathy
- Palliation of terminal cases
- In conjunction with conventional treatment
- The use of supportive treatments and regimes: mental approaches, diet, nutrition, herbs, hydrotherapy, etc.
- Case studies of patients with cancer, leukemia, lymphoma, brain tumors…
- How to research difficult cases
- Materia medica
- Strategies for the prevention of cancer
Dr. Saine quickly dispelled the myth that the patient suffering from cancer was not treatable with homeopathy.
Kent felt the cancer patient was incurable but that Homeopathy could palliate and prolong life. The “incurability” of the cancer patient is disputed by such masters as Lippe, Talbot, Gilchrist and P.P. Wells who all cite numbers of cured cases of patients with cancer. Dr. Sawyer, a Chicago surgeon, boasted a 95% cure rate with Homeopathic treatment. Dr. Clarke even goes so far as to assert that the more malignant the case, the better the prognosis for successful treatment. Dr. Carleton, a surgeon, treated patients with cancer with homeopathy first surgery always a last resort. Boericke states that the best prognosis comes from homeopathic treatment and the chances for success decline radically once surgery and x-ray intervention are introduced.
Dr. Saine notes that casetaking (as in every case) should be thorough, including searching for clues in the family history or the past medical history of the patient. For example, a very severe case of scarlet fever could hold important prescribing symptoms that may pertain to the present case.
Localized symptoms carry more importance in the treatment of patients with cancer. The location, consistency, size and shape of the patient’s tumour are all important clues in prescribing. Any odor or discharge will also furnish prescribing information. The symptoms of the patient’s tumor are simply the expression of the nature of the disease.
You have to look at nature without prejudice – be a free observer and make your assessment of the peculiar symptoms at the end of the casetaking session. There is most always a peculiar symptom relative to the whole picture.
Physical examination is a crucial part of the case taking procedure. Measure the lesion, describe it in detail and draw or photograph it. Many clues will come from what you can palpate and see. We are often negligent in our physical exam of the patient.
After the thorough casetaking session and physical exam, we are ready to enter the repertory. Dr. Saine gave extensive repertory information and his own additions. They are too numerous to note here.
The key to successful case analysis is to follow the requirements of the Law of Nature: find the most similar remedy to the peculiar symptoms of the case. Make sure you include the localized symptoms pertaining to the specific type of cancer in the total picture. Look at the whole case, including the pathology.
Make no mistake, homeopathic treatment of the cancer patient is very difficult.
Cancer is often a silent disease until late stage, and symptoms are hard to find in the Materia Medica. Clarke states that one needs to be able to perceive that which is striking in a case. The defective case is often a reflection of the “defective doctor”. Clues to the case could be from many places. It is important to be persistent in case taking and case analysis. Most cancer patients tend not to be overly sensitive to remedies. Sometimes a lower potency can be given to arouse the patient’s sensitivity, then a higher potency can become more effective.
To treat effectively, look for a remedy which will cover the entire picture. Dr. Saine cites cured cases in the literature of patients with uterine cancer, breast cancer and brain tumours. Be aware that a remedy for the patient’s chronic condition may improve the patient overall but NOT treat the patient’s tumor. Local symptoms MUST be considered to lead to the correct remedy.
The location of warts can be very important for prescribing. It could be a keynote of your remedy. The location of an epithelioma is important; however, the side of a breast tumour or ovarian cancer is less significant. The type of tissue involved can be important – is it glandular, bone or epithelial? Some remedies have a specific relationship to certain organs, e.g., basal cell carcinoma (Rodent’s Ulcer) and Juglans Cinera or Hekla Lava for bone tumors.
Dr. Saine reports that “stalled” cases are common in the treatment of the cancer patient. The patient stops reacting well to the remedy. You give the next potency and the patient reacts less well. You give the next potency, and there is no reaction. To facilitate movement in stalled cases, a nosode may be given. Dr. Sawyer of Chicago recognized the importance of obstacles to cure (e.g., dental amalgams and heavy metal toxicity in some cases). If the patient is toxic, you need to antidote the toxin to allow the case to progress. The most successful “intercurrent” or intermediary remedies are nosodes. (Again, check the patient’s past medical history for important clues.)
That was Day I. Lectures were 6 hours per day. The next day’s lecture was scheduled to start in the afternoon. A majority of folks took advantage of this to take time to visit the Carerra Biological Reserve. Back to class.
We began the next day’s lecture with a discussion on what was termed the “stop spot”, another term for “stalled” case. You have to recognize this spot and prescribe a new remedy most similar to the unchanging symptoms which are the current priority. How to prescribe? Look for the remedy for the totality of the remaining symptoms, especially the unchanged symptoms. A nosode often helps.
Dr. Woods reports a case of uterine cancer. The patient improved in general on Phosphorous but the patient’s tumor grew in size. Tuberculinum 12CH and 30CH helped to decrease the size of the patient’s tumor.
For chronic disease, 90% of cases will need more than one remedy. It is crucial to be able to judge when the symptom picture is changing.
In terms of treatment, you know you are on the right track when the patient’s tumor becomes smaller. A change in a 4.0 cm tumor to 3.6 cm is significant (a 10% change). For posology, Dr. Saine recommends a 200 potency, single dose. Note how long the patient reacts, repeat again and compare the response to the second dose of the medicine (versus the first). If the patient is insensitive, use a lower potency and repeat more frequently. However, the higher the potency, the faster you can confirm whether or not you are on the right track.
With respect to potenty, learn to be flexible – if you are sure of the remedy and yet there is no response, change the potenty.
What about prognosis? The best prognosis is relative to the amount of experience the doctor has had in treating cancer patients. The second factor is related to the malignancy of the disease. The more malignant and faster growing the disease, the better the prognosis. The patient’s vitality is another factor for favorable recovery.
Intermission in Costa Rica. We took time out to view (through viewfinders, of course) an 85% eclipse of the sun!
How often do you repeat the remedy? It is important to repeat the remedy when the patient starts to stabilize or when the patient stops improving. After one or two repetitions of a remedy, the start of the relapse should become clear. For example, patient responds well to a remedy, then becomes irritable, fatigued, liver pain increases, nausea increases, appetite falls, then you repeat. Now we know that the next repetition of the remedy should occur as soon as the irritability begins, which is the first sign that the patient has stopped improving. Dr. Saine recommends “plusing” the remedy in water if you have to repeat frequently. Wait approximately 2 hours between repetitions of the remedy, but in an urgent situation, repeat as often as necessary (as frequently as every 5 minutes). The greater the similimum or sensitivity of the patient, the less often you will have to repeat the remedy.
Cure in the cancer patient cans be a lengthy process, sometimes taking up to 5 or more years of treatment.
How do you assess your follow-up? Pay attention to the lesion. If it is shrinking, you are right on the mark. A decrease in pain is your best follow-up symptom if there has been no initial aggravation. When progress starts to abate, it is time to repeat. Again, don’t wait for stabilization or relapse. If you are not sure if the patient is about to plateau, it is better to repeat the remedy more often than less often.
Posology is best given on an ascending scale unless the degree of similarity is low. Give the remedy you are sure is correct, as needed.
In the course of healing, the patient’s tumor may start to break down and discharge. It is a sign of resolution.
The higher the potency, the greater the potential for aggravation. Be suspicious of long aggravations. A long aggravation may simply be a sign of the normal progression of the disease. If you give the wrong remedy, the disease may advance even more rapidly. A decrease in energy with an increase in nausea is not necessarily an aggravation. Aggravations may be intense but shouldn’t be long.
Be wary of going too fast in treatment.
Don’t heal faster than the patient can handle. The best homeopathic practitioner will be the best diagnostician – one who is skilled in discerning common from peculiar symptoms, one who can follow the prognosis, and one who always perseveres!
As difficult as it may be with allopathic practitioners’ “automatic” surgical removal of cancer, the patient’s tumor in Homeopathic medicine is seen as a positive extension of the disease process. If you remove the patient’s tumor, it is impossible to monitor the reversal of the process and to gauge the success of your treatment. The disease of cancer once again becomes a silent disease after surgery until its next emergence. Give yourself some time before surgery when treating a malignant growth. If there is a distant metastasis, it will continue to grow and you won’t know it. When you have a local tumor to monitor, you will know if the metastasis is changing. If the primary tumor begins to recede, themetastasis will also disappear.
The ability to successfully treat cancer patients after surgery is reduced by at least 50%.
The successful treatment of cancer patients in the past, even in very difficult cases, was directly related to the perserverance and tenacity of the practitioner. It is was not unusual to see eleven or twelve different prescriptions over the course of treatment.
Conventional treatment will always be offered to the patient.
If the patient decides to proceed with surgery, explain the pros and cons. If homeopathic treatment precedes and follows surgery, and if the cancer is localized only, then these homeopathic treatments, plus surgery, along with a positive change in lifestyle may decrease the chance of the cancer returning. If the patient’s tumor has already metastasized then the ultimate outcome is worse because you will have removed the primary tumor and so won’t be able to follow the course of your treatment. Ideally, the patient should postpone surgery so that the homeopathic approach can be monitored for success. If the patient’s tumor begins to shrink, delay surgery once again (and again, and again).
X-ray (radiation) treatment is very difficult for the patient. It weakens the immune system and side-effects include anemia, nausea, dry mucous membranes, etc. Homeopathy can, however, antidote some of the bad side-effects. (Rubric: Generals, Burns, X-rays). The same is true of chemotherapy. If there is a pattern to the side effects, homeopathic treatment can be given prophylactically.
Complementary care is necessary to support the patient.
Nutrition should be addressed. Often these patients have poor digestion and assimilation. A “smoothie” made from fresh fruit, bee pollen, green algae or chlorophyll, pumpkin seeds, and yogurt in a blender may be easier to digest in the morning. A vegetable “smoothie” in the afternoon made from green algae or chlorophyll, green leafy vegetables, carrots, beets, celery is advised. Of course, remove obvious offenders from the diet – coffee, tea, sugar, salt, alcohol, meat, white flour products. Lifestyle and hygiene must be changed. Reducing stress is essential.
The AMA (anti-malignin antibody test) can be ordered from Boston (1-800-922-8378) and will confirm the presence and degree of cancer.
When the patient’s tumor is completely gone and the treatment is completed, it is unlikely that it would ever return.
Use the AMA blood test to confirm.
This seminar confirmed for me that which I had always instinctively known -that the cancer patient is well and successfully treated with homeopathy. I now have coping strategies and a better understanding of the disease process, case and patient management, prognosis and the tenacity and perseverance it takes to be a good prescriber.