To patients and even to physicians, cancer gives the impression of being the most terrible scourge, which is fatal, pitiless, irremediable as soon as it fixes its signature on the human being. That isn’t always so. Each of the therapeutic methods employed against cancer has really shown itself capable of curing indisputable cases, and even in certain circumstances, though they are rare, one has seen malignant tumors not only remain stationary but even regress and sometimes disappear. However, it is impossible to make use of these facts for the future because of their inconstancy.
The same holds true for classical homeopathy. Some good homeopathic practitioners, as well as some empiricists, after having treated several hundred cases of cancer, have been able to boast, with truth, that they have been able to cure some of these cases. We can admit it, even after excluding the doubtful cases or those unproved because of a lacking biopsy. But one cannot depend on these for they are isolated accomplishments.
The properly called homeopathic treatment can be useful in cancer however; be it to retard the progression of the cancer, be it to palliate against the pains, be it opposed, finally, to the general intoxication, not only in the phase of the confirmed cancer but especially in the pretumoral phase, prophylactic treatment of cancer or the cure of the precancerous state.
However, modern homeopaths, knowing that it is necessary to add more efficacious arms to their traditional arsenal, have been orienting themselves for twenty or thirty years in a channel of specific treatment: tumor extracts, isotherapy, dilutions of products, various discovered organisms in the cancerous masses, whatever their significance may be (generators of lesions or saprophytes only).
Successively, we shall study:
1. The properly called homeopathic treatment.
2. The different specific and isopathic methods which are associated to homeopathy.
Actually then, the great directing idea of the officials is that cancer is a disease, firstly local, which then generalizes itself, which is only grave because of this generalization and invasion of the body. That which is called the precancerous state exists only in so much local irritation, or the isolated organic inflammation can be the cause for cancer (for example, a proctitis determining a favorable state for the birth of a rectal cancer, a uterine polyp degenerating into a uterine epithelioma, etc.)
Consequence: it is essential to fight these local inflammations, and act aggressively on the tumoral element in order to destroy it (be it by radiation or surgical intervention). The main argument which appears to favor this belief is the relative rarity of relapses of cancers in aggressively treated cases and the exception of cases of primitive tumors appearing successively in different organs in the same patient.
On the contrary, homeopaths believe in general, and other colleagues hold equally to this idea, that there not only exists at the same time but especially for some time before the appearance of a tumor, a general constitutional state or generator of cancer. The local irritation acts only as a focus of localization; it is a thorn due to disturbances of regional tropism (tissue or organ).
Consequence: Know the signs of the precancerous state in order to treat the body before the appearance of the tumor and treat the general state as well as the cancer during or after the latter. The valuable argument in favor of this idea is the possibility of obtaining occasionally a remission or an amelioration, which is only temporary, by acting on the general state and via internal channels.
In reality, if certain officials are strangely blind when they refuse to admit the existence of an already deficient general state in a clinically pretumoral phase, certain traditional homeopaths, especially foreigners, are mistaken, in our opinion, when they neglect the extreme importance of the local factor in cancer as in other affections.
To clarify our demonstration let us take another example: an abscess or phlegmon. Before the appearance of the suppuration one can prove that there exists in the general state of the subject warning disturbances: suppurative tendency; the smallest wound is infected very easily, the patient is fatigued, there often exists cytological transformations, etc. Then the abscess forms. At this moment local signs appear and assume more and more the first position over the signs of general disturbance unless the abscess is opened and the pus exteriorized. In this case, general treatment is useful before and after; the abscess ought to be associated with local measures, in the suppurative phase.
There is likewise in cancer a rational local treatment whose object is the tumoral destruction, be it by irradiation or better still by operative oblation, be it by local application of homeopathic remedies; it should be practiced each time this is possible, for without that the treatment of general detoxification is shown to be insufficient in the greater part of the cases.
lt is then necessary to envisage homeopathic treatment from two aspects:
General (remedies to be prescribed in the precancerous state as well as during the tumoral phase or after it).
Local (treatment only possible in the actual cancer period).
This is composed of:
1. Constitutional remedies
2. Cancer remedies
3. Drainage and canalization remedies
Numerous polychrests, habitually employed as remedies of morbid constitutions, called “basic remedies” or improperly called “constitutional remedies” are quite often indicated in cancerous and precancerous patients. As elsewhere, they can also be prescribed in the greater part of the chronic diseases, as Hahnemann described them. That it may be a question of psora, that state so difficult to define yet so easily recognized; that it may be a question of sycosis in other cases; that psora is identifiable, according to Nebel, with hereditary tuberculosis (with infections of intestinal origin for other authors); that it determines in the subject a state called tuberculinique or pretuberculous in others, or a precancerous diathesis in others; we should only note that, habitually, it is the same great basic remedies which should be prescribed in the first place. Our object here is only a practical one, namely, to present a general view of the treatment of cancer, and it is not an etiologic or pathogenic investigation.
Thus we find that depending on age, sex, race, soil, climate, habits of life, alimentation, morphology, there are a thousand shades which lend these remedies an extraordinary polymorphism. lt is also true that Thuja, Lachesis, Iodium, Silicea, Lycopodium, Sulphur, Sepia, Petroleum, the Calcareas, the Kalis, the Natrums, Carbo vegetabilis and animalis, Graphites, Causticum, Arsenicum album, Phosphorus, Mercurius, Nitric acid, Nux vomica, Ignatia, shall present themselves judiciously to our minds as most often characterizing the morbid state of our patients. They are for us protean remedies, for precise personalities, which are multiple, faceted, variable. They can be described in a different fashion, but as true as any other, as characterizing certain hereditary psoric states in the child, tuberculinique in every age but especially in the young subject (child, adolescent, young adult): or precancerous psoric or precancerous sycotic states in adults and mature people or in the aged who frequently present associations of sycosis and psora.
We lack the space required to describe in a detailed manner the precancerous state as it is manifested in Thuja, Lachesis, Sulphur, etc., as we have previously done for the tuberculinique or tuberculous state (General View of the Present Homeopathic Treatment of Pulmonary Tuberculosis, L’Homeopathic Moderne, Nov. 15, 1932). The reader should refer to the materia medica, which is the premier source of all homeopathic knowledge. Let us limit ourselves by giving only several practical indications of the value of these remedies which are habitually employed in high potency in the precancerous or even cancerous state.
THUJA: This is the king of Hahnemann’s sycosis, the diathesis which is productive of neoplasms, that are, most often, benign. These are warts, condylomata, vegetations, nevi, etc. Sycosis supervenes upon a genital infection, especially gonorrhoea, or after repeated vaccinations which are toxic to the body, especially Jennerian antivariolar vaccination.
Thuja is in the first rank of remedies for the precancerous state. In high potencies it is wise to repeat it rarely, since it can be dangerous and occasionally even precipitate a subject towards a cancerous localization.
In reality, Thuja can also act with success in the confirmed cancer if the latter isn’t too intensely malignant, and if the tumor is still localized. In such cases it can be used for cancer of the breast (degenerated adenoma) and for the cutaneous epitheliomata. In such cases one may be mistaken, perhaps, in prescribing it in too high potencies. Thuja 6 repeated often would appear to act more favorably in certain cutaneous cancers, especially in the cancroids.
LACHESIS: This is also a constitutional remedy of the first order for the precancerous and starting cancer cases. This is especially so in females approaching the fifth decade, following a period of glandular or circulatory disturbances affecting the thyroid, ovaries and liver. These disturbances are often accompanied by vertigo, flashes of heat, palpitations, general hyperaesthesia (cannot tolerate anything tied about the neck, chest or waist) and often, arterial hypertension. If there exists a bloody discharge, the latter ameliorates the patient (especially the periods). If, on the other hand, there is a cessation of the discharge the condition is aggravated (menopause).
In other cases and regardless of sex, the precancerous Lachesis case is intoxicated (alcohol) or jaded. The latter’s intensive creative efforts or inventive researches have profoundly disturbed the humors and destroyed the reserves of nervous energy.
Lachesis even acts well in certain cancers, in high potencies, and without appearing dangerous as Thuja is, even if it is repeated often. Its action is more general on the intoxication of cancerous origin. Thuja has a more localizing action.
IODIUM: This is complementary to Thuja which is also its antidote. Patient is debilitated, weak, and wastes very rapidly in spite of his good appetite. He has the tendency to produce new connective tissues and hard glandular growths (breasts, uterus, lymphatic glands, thyroid, etc.). One must not neglect to prescribe it, for it often has a favorable action on the weight and even on the tumoral element which it can cause to regress or whose induration and invasive tendency it will diminish.
SILICEA: This remedy is also related to Thuja and Iodium. lt acts especially on the connective tissues in which, according to Ribbert, modifications often occur before epithelial neoformation. Lauded by Zeller, Fargas and other authors, it is suitable for the precancerous or cancerous diathesis. lt can be prescribed in cicatricial degenerations (keloids, analogous action to Fluoric acid) and especially in sclerosing tendencies with the production of new fibrous tissues. If Thuja is mentally obsessed, Iodium a depressed melancholic and anxious type, Silicea is a hypersensitive anxious type who is also capable of possessing fixed ideas.
lt is essential often to employ it in middle potencies in tumors and high potencies in the pretumoral phase. Fargas also used Silicic acid in hypodermic injections, he claims with success, in several cases of cancer. Like Iodium, Silicea is demineralized and wastes very rapidly.
LYCOPODIUM: Antipsoric like Calcarea carbonica and Sulphur, Lycopodium evolutes toward cancer through its hepatic insufficiency. Its action fortifies against the precancerous state. In confirmed cancer it barely has any value since it has no power over the tumoral element as have Thuja, Iodium or Silicea.
If the hepatic insufficiency is great it should be cautiously employed in low potencies for even the 30th has often shown itself to be dangerous, in cases of hepatic blockage. lt is here that the necessity for a good preliminary general drainage makes itself felt.
The Lycopodium subject who becomes cancerous will localize his tumor preferentially on the liver, stomach or intestine.
SULPHUR: King of Hahnemann’s antipsorics, Sulphur ought to be reserved for the pretumoral state. lt has no favorable action in a confirmed cancer, even at the start, and can even be dangerous in this case by favoring the propagation of neoplastic cells and the wasting. On the contrary, it is essential to know that it is to be prescribed at times among these patients, generally hypertensives, whose general arterial hypertension is accompanied by an intense portal congestion which is both arterial and venous. This relieves bleeding hemorrhoids. This abdominal arteriovenous hypertension is the prelude of a cancer which will preferably localize itself in the digestive tract or in an abdominal viscus. In these cases an untimely local treatment, as in stopping bleeding hemorrhoids, can be very dangerous.
SEPIA: The morbid personality of Sepia is often noted in subjects in whom cancer is imminent. This remedy, like Sulphur and Lycopodium, acts favorably on a disturbed general state, but not on a tumoral element. lt is characterized by a venous portal hypertension, the abdominal congestion predominating especially in the pelvis, and is not accompanied, as in Sulphur, by an arterial participation. The atony determines ptoses and the “bearing down” sensations. The endocrinal disturbances (liver, adrenals; genitalia) cause the characteristic facies and the cutaneous pigmentary modifications.
Untreated, Sepia will develop rather toward a cancer of the pelvis-uterus, rectum, sigmoid colon, prostate.
PETROLEUM: This remedy is allied to Sulphur. lt is curious to observe the cancerous tendency of Petroleum or of benzol and the derivatives of the oil (Pix liquida and the aniline compounds as I have already recorded). All these products act rather on the neoplastic tendency of the skin. Petroleum has cracks < in winter, by cold. Its intolerance for cabbages is accompanied by digestive disturbances and errors of treatment. lt can also develop toward a neoplasm of the digestive mucosa as well as toward cutaneous cancer. Petroleum directs itself toward surface cancers (skin, mucosa) and not toward bulky cancers (glands).
THE CALCAREAS: Of the three great calcium salts, Calcarea fluorica is the only one which exhibits a neoplastic element. It confers on glands or connective tissue a stony induration. lt is related to Silicea. lt acts as well in breast and uterine cancers as in those in other organs. Calcarea phosphorica has hardly any action either in cancer or in the precancerous state.