Cancer: The Disease of our Time
Reprinted in part from Sozial Hygiene, Nos. 19 and 26 MD
Summer 1999, Cancer: A New Approach - Issue #16
How Does Cancer Arise?
Time and again doctors are asked: "What really is the cause of cancer?" This question can't be answered in a sentence. The increase in incidence indicates that the disease is related to our changed customs and living conditions-in the final analysis to our present image of the human being and the world. We ourselves and our environment have changed profoundly; a hasty development has taken place with which insight and a sense of responsibility have not always kept pace. This has contributed to a web of causes of susceptibility to cancer.
A materialistically narrow view is expressed when we search for the actual cause of tumor formation only in the degenerate cell, or in the "accident" of its hereditary factors- detached from the soul-life of the human being. Even where demonstrable external factors, such as chemicals hostile to the organism, are identified, our constitution and individual susceptibility, or power of resistance, is always the deciding factor. Only by understanding the whole human being can we free ourselves from the fear of being helplessly at the mercy of some accident in the cellular processes of our organism.
The human body is a well-formed, wisely constituted, organism whose building blocks are the cells. However, higher forces and principles of organization are doing the building that makes the individual human form possible; they balance the relationship between form-principle and substance (cells). Today, we know a range of causes which disturb this balance and create the conditions for cancerous growth.
On the highest level, a disturbance of balance can begin in the realm of the creative human spirit, which is often not given enough room to unfold in education or profession. It can become stunted, no longer even maintaining its own bodily form. Disturbances can also occur in our soul life, in the form of complexes, fears and obsessions. These influence the harmonious functioning of our feeling life, the bodily basis of which is the rhythmic system of heart and lung. Finally, there can be disturbances in the body's metabolism, in the hormonal system, which eventually lead to an emancipation of certain groups of cells.
1. Preventive Help in Childhood
Preventive measures can begin in pregnancy if the mother-to-be prepares herself physically and mentally with a rhythmic ordering of the day, sufficient sleep, a harmonious state of mind, avoidance of nicotine and alcohol, and healthy natural nourishment.
Breast milk is the infant's best protection, not only because of the milk's nutritive quality, but also for its vital formative forces. It strengthens the baby's constitution for the entirety of its life. Giving the newborn a variety of substances foreign to mother's milk may lead to premature hardening, as do shots such as Vitamin D which should not be given for mere reasons of custom. Equally, an excess of protective inoculations should be avoided. Overcoming feverish childhood illnesses strengthens the immune system, enabling it, in later life, to resist attack.
It may seem strange at first that the education a child receives is significant for the avoidance of cancer. The key to understanding this is a fundamental truth of LILIPOH, that human thought forces are transformed growth forces. During life, formative forces active in organic depths become free and are at the disposal of the ego as powers of memory and imagination. By prematurely and one-sidedly stressing the intellect through early reading, rote learning and abstract thinking, we rob the child of forces needed for a healthy development of the physical body. Not only will the child suffer from nervousness, loss of color and appetite, but the finer structures of the inner organism will degenerate and threaten to harden and age before their time. On the other hand, if creative imagination, artistic faculties, and inspired sharing of experiences are not sufficiently activated, there is a danger of damming up unused formative forces. These can later easily find expression in unhealthy behavior, or unhealthy growth.
Today, both intellectual education and lack of artistic expression are often the norm, and this education, unsuited to the developing child, can pave the way for tomorrow's ailments. Tragically, the earliest seeds of many precancerous conditions often reach back into early childhood or schooling.
The middle school years should seek to strengthen the individuality of the child, at the same time awakening affectionate interest in the surrounding world. The diet of a school child is crucial and should be simple, but of biodynamic, organic quality. Young people should find meaning in their work, engaging themselves fully so that the personality permeates the organism in a healthy way, ordering and forming it.
2. Preventive Measures For Adults
Keeping a Rhythm
Tumors do not "breathe" normally. Rather, they demonstrate a "metabolism of suffocation." This leads us to look at the entire breathing process, a basic life rhythm united with the rhythm of the heart that carries the balance between formative organization and substance, between human form and cell. Every disturbance or weakening of this life rhythm has a long- term damaging effect. Sadly, in our present environment, far removed from the rhythms of nature, we are almost always exposed to such disturbances.
To help balance the unavoidable disruptions of everyday life, conscious care of the rhythmic system, and penetrating the whole organism with breathing is important. Artistic activity, music, painting, eurythmy, caring for a garden, effectively nurture the rhythmic system, helping it remain pliant and lively.
Special care should be taken with the rhythm of waking and sleeping, which can be seen as the breathing of our soul-spiritual being. Seven to eight hours sleep are sufficient for an adult, with one or two hours before midnight, when sleep depth is greatest. Meals should be regular, with a relaxed, cheerful mood prevailing. Bowels must be kept active with exercise, good diet or, if necessary, a mild vegetable laxative.
More than with any other disease, people suffering from cancer see themselves as confronting an opponent, in the form of a growth, which apparently leads them inexorably to the abyss of existence. Even experienced doctors keep pondering how such a separation between spirit-soul and growth-ridden body can arise out of the original unity. One answer is that the 'warmth organism' falls apart. Through the medium of warmth, the ego permeates the body to its most distant fibers, giving it unity through its spiritual force. For this reason care and maintenance of a well-regulated warmth system is decisive, and the gradual displacement of organs from this natural dynamic is one of the first factors predisposing the development of tumors. Rudolf Steiner's suggestion that a warm covering should be created around tumor activity to dissipate the illness and lead back to wholeness is perfectly understandable. He was the first to point to the opposition of inflammation and tumor growth. Living with a low temperature for years, the absence of inflammatory diseases, or the abrupt suppression of them with fever-fighting drugs; these are frequent signs in the case history of a cancer-sufferer. One should not therefore fight every little cold or minor fever with fever-lowering, germ-killing measures.
Half of all cancers arise in the abdomen. For the maintenance of a healthy flow of blood this region must be not be allowed to get cold, in spite of fashionable follies such as naked legs or thin nylon stockings in winter, synthetic underwear, and miniskirts in autumn. They contribute to the weakening of the unifying warmth organism, which in turn has reflects back on the abdominal organs.
Strengthening The Ego
The ego as spiritual essence lifts us above the animal kingdom to the rank of a human individuality and a healthy inner life is vital to the prevention of cancer. The modern human being is inwardly torn apart by a surfeit of external events; an over-abundance of sense impressions, haste, and an inundation of unconnected bits of information from the media. These cause constant stress which takes far greater strength to meet than the average person is capable of. As an antidote, learn to acquaint yourself with one small part of the world by experiencing it peacefully and deeply.
Also, we must practice growing old in the right way. Tissues harden physiologically with age but as bodily capacities recede, the spiritual should be better able to unfold. Unfortunately, we often see the opposite: the physical body of the elderly artificially kept potent with hormones. Cancer, as a typical disease of old age, can arise precisely when aging tissue is artificially kept young, or when a cell imbalance arises through a chronic irritation in a particular area such as the alimentary tract. All interference in hormonal balance is harmful, and that includes the "Pill" which may encourage the disposition towards cancer with long term use. Combating hot flushes in menopause with hormones is to be avoided. On the other hand do everything to keep the spiritual alive, widening horizons and unfolding the wisdom of old age.
Equally harmful is another sort of pill, the sedative pill, used to help people avoid every difficulty in life. Habitual use promotes a weakening of the will and also of the personality. Sleeping pills work in the same way. Both produce a slightly lowered consciousness and, even if not perceived, a weakening of initiative and tendency towards uniformity. Such a state is particularly susceptible to cancer.
Regular medical examinations are strongly recommended for the recognition of precancerous conditions. To this end the development of special research methods arising out of LILIPOH has been going on for years, helping detect predisposition before the cancer develops to a physical stage. The copper chloride crystallization tests by Pfeiffer and the capillary-dynamic blood tests of Kaelin should be mentioned in this connection.6 and the Society of Cancer Research Hiscia (see Resources, p.18).
A common reaction of patients in whom cancer has been diagnosed is: "I have always lived a healthy life. How could I get this disease?" Every disease is a part of our individual human destiny and belongs to us just as our arms and legs do. If we look from a distance at the experiences of our lives up to the present, taking in all the good and all the bad, there is no part we would really want to leave out. Our personal biography is the garment of our earthly existence. The idea that our present life on earth is just one of many, a short step on the path of our individuality through earthly and spiritual stages, allows every life to be seen as a task of which disease is a part, and one from which we can grow, regardless of the outcome. This is especially so with cancer. It constitutes a call to the sufferer: "Human being, change thyself!"
Operations and radiation have greatly reduced the mortality rate from cancer in recent decades. Both methods however, additionally call for new directions in therapy since they only address the degenerate cells. As early as 1920 Rudolf Steiner, founder of anthroposophically oriented LILIPOH, suggested a further way from his comprehensive insight into the nature of the human being and the natural world. By the introduction of mistletoe into cancer therapy he appealed to a new healing principle, looking to the forming forces of the organism, now called powers of resistance, which can control cell material gone wild. Meanwhile biochemical and biophysical investigations have shown that particularly strong tumor inhibiting substances are contained in mistletoe extracts. These do not attack the cell directly but through the forces which give the organism its specific structure. And so, in addition to the officially accepted measures, there is today the possibility of extending and saving the lives of many people with natural preparations from mistletoe (viscum album). Even in situations where it is too late for operations and where very little can be achieved with radiation treatment, Iscador and the other mistletoe preparations may bring relief and added quality of life.
The Lukas Clinic in Arlesheim, Switzerland (one of a number of anthroposophical hospitals in Europe) the Lukas Clinic specializes in the treatment and aftercare of people suffering from tumors using Iscador and other adjunct therapies that address the whole human being. This rehabilitative treatment continues for years, even after the patient has left the clinic and returned to work.
This article is reprinted, in part, from Sozial Hygiene, Nos. 19 and 26, Helios Enterprises Ltd, Northbridge, Australia, with kind permission of the Verein fuer ein Anthroposophisches Heilwesen, Germany.
1. Annual report of the Society for Cancer Research 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983 (May be ordered from Verein fuer Krebsforschung, CH-4144 Arlesheim)
2. Leroi, R.: An Anthroposophical Approach to Cancer. Mercury Press, Spring Valley, N.Y. 1982
3. Cookery Book from the Lukas-Clinic for patients with cancer or precancerous conditions (see LILIPOH Book page 16)
4. Fyfe, A: Moon & Plant, Capillary Dynamic Studies. Published by The Society for Cancer Research Arlesheim, Switzerland, 1967.
5. Fyfe, A.: The mistletoe in the cycle of the seasons, British Homoeopathic Journal, Vol. LVIII, No.4, 1969.
6. Leroi, A: The Cell, the Human Organism and Cancer. New Knowledge Books, 18 Elizabeth Crescent, London.
For Medical Doctors:
Iscador -Investigator's Brochure, viscum album research in progress. Revised January 1999. Inquiries to LILIPOH.