The first written record of cancer dates back to 3000 B.C., when Egyptian physicians treated a breast cancer patient with salts and ointments. Coexisting civilizations were also learning how to identify and treat tumors around the same time, and often relied on a repertoire of teas, fruits and mineral pastes.
Modern homeopathic physicians still employ these methods to treat cancer patients. As homeopathy becomes increasingly popular as a form of complementary cancer care, and as a sole approach to treating cancer, more and more patients are reaping the benefits of the natural therapies.
Homeopathy Versus Traditional Oncology
Homeopathic treatments are much different than traditional treatments like chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Rather than use harsh chemicals to attack the tumor, they use gentle solutions of natural compounds to address the underlying cause.
Traditional oncologists often choose a cancer treatment plan based on the type and extent of the cancer. Homeopathic physicians, on the other hand, prescribe a remedy based on the unique series of symptoms the patient is experiencing. They choose a solution based on the “like cures like” theory and find the homeopathic remedy that most closely fits the patient’s condition.
Many homeopaths reject the oncological practice of polypharmacy, or the administration of multiple cancer drugs at once. Traditionally, homeopathy focuses on one remedy at a time. This allows the body to fully respond to the therapy. If, for any reason, the remedy does not produce the desired result, the physician can re-evaluate the patient’s condition and find a more appropriate solution.
Homeopathic treatment has also shown to improve quality of life among mesothelioma cancer patients when compared to traditional treatment. In 2010, the peer-reviewed journal BMC Cancer published a comparison of complementary homeopathic cancer treatment and traditional oncology. Researchers assembled two groups of cancer patients with similar diagnoses and life expectancies and tracked their treatment for a full year.
All patients in both groups had a life expectancy of three months or more, but were diagnosed with an incurable advanced malignancy.
In the homeopathic treatment group, quality of life significantly improved over the first three months. It continued to improve over the full course of the year-long study. The traditional oncology group reported no quality of life improvements in the first three months, with only slight improvements by the study’s completion.
Homeopathic patients also reported a decrease in their fatigue. This decrease included mental fatigue, general physical fatigue and physical fatigue related to physical activity. There were no relevant changes in energy levels in the traditionally treated participants.
The researchers did acknowledge that a larger study was necessary to officially link these improvements to complementary homeopathic treatment. However, the benefits reported by the homeopathic group are encouraging – both to natural treatment proponents and cancer patients who hope to improve their condition with the help of these gentle, natural therapies.
Hadju, S. (2010). A note from history: Landmarks in history of cancer, part 1. Cancer; 117 (5). Retrieved from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/cncr.25553/full
Rostock, M., Naumann, J., Guethlin, C., Guenther, L., Bartsch, H., & Walach, H. (2010). Classical homeopathy in the treatment of cancer patients – a prospective observational study of two independent cohorts. BMC Cancer; 11: 19. Retrieved from http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2407/11/19