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The Use of Homeopathy in a Case of Cancer

by Dr Neil Slade(more info)

listed in homeopathy, originally published in issue 102 - August 2004

Every now and again we all get a case that really resonates with us, one that teaches us a lesson that we learn and progress from. One such case for me was that of Harriet. She was 35 and 18 months earlier had been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL). The primary tumour was growing around a major blood vessel which made any chances of surgery nil, so she had been treated with chemotherapy. The chemotherapy had been successful as the tumour had shrunk to nothing and all of the associated symptoms – swelling, exhaustion, pain – had disappeared. For the last year or so Harriet had got on with her life, working part-time and bringing up her two small children.

So what brought her to my consulting room? A short while before, Harriet had been feeling unwell. She had been suffering from night sweats and had noticed that her face and neck looked slightly swollen, symptoms she remembered all too well! Scans and blood tests showed that the NHL had come back and the primary tumour had grown again. She was immediately started on a course of chemotherapy and a friend advised her to seek treatment from a homeopath. Homeopathy can be used in many different ways to treat a case of cancer. Whenever I have a cancer case I always spend time discussing with the patient about what they want from the treatment. In Harriet's case she wanted constitutional treatment to help the whole of her cope with the disease and also help on the emotional level as she was having trouble coming to terms with this regression of the cancer. We also discussed the application of homeopathy to help with any side-effects of the chemotherapy.

A thorough case taking brought me to a remedy called Staphysagria. Two main themes of Harriet's case were resentment and suppressed anger. Most of this was due to her parents, her controlled upbringing and her feelings towards the disease. She was very angry about the fact that this disease might kill her and would leave her children without their mother. She was resentful that she had the disease in the first place when there were "…more deserving murderers and rapists". In short she was pretty bitter. A great sadness was that she could not envisage her children's faces as adults. When I asked why she was trying she said just in case she died and would never see them for herself! I prescribed Staphysagria 30c, one tablet daily for five days, and a Bach Flower combination which she was to take on a daily basis. We discussed what she should be doing nutritionally. She didn't want to consult a nutritionist separately because of mounting costs, so we decided that a good multivitamin/mineral iron supplement and regular juicing of organic fruits and vegetables would be a good start. She cut red meat and refined foods (sugars, flour, ready meals) out of her diet.

Harriet embarked on her chemotherapy plus the homeopathy/nutritional changes. She put on weight, felt she had more energy and was much less resentful. She wrote a letter to her parents (after not communicating for years), expressing how she felt about them, channelling the anger that had been held back for years. It was clear she was letting go and moving on – a very encouraging sign. Whilst on the chemotherapy she suffered from severe nausea which responded well to Ipecac 30c.

Over the next couple of months it was clear that although Harriet was feeling better, the cancer was not responding to the chemotherapy. A decision was made by the Oncologist to give her a much harder hitting form of chemotherapy. This one would need her to be hospitalized in an isolation ward for a few weeks. She coped very well with the treatment, but suffered from dreadful mouth ulcers that responded to Hypercal (mix of Hypericum and Calendula tinctures) mouthwashes. An outcome of this treatment was not what anyone wanted to hear – a secondary tumour had grown in her neck during the rigorous drug regimen. The prognosis was very poor and Harriet was told that there was nothing further that could be done for her.

I visited Harriet on her return from hospital and during that meeting we decided to change the homeopathic approach. As well as constitutional treatment, she agreed to remedies to attack the cancer itself. I carried on with the Staphysagria (constitutional remedy) on a monthly basis and also gave her Scrophularia nodosum 12c. This remedy is recorded as a specific for lymphoma in the Materia Medicas and giving a low potency like 12c meant I could repeat it often. I decided on a regimen of one tablet daily for two weeks, every fortnight. She carried on with the nutritional regimens. Much to everyone's surprise the tumours receded over the next few months.

Follow-up scans confirmed this and showed that both tumours had reduced in size. I didn't dare break what seemed to be a winning formula so the same regimen was maintained and the tumours simply kept getting smaller until they could no longer be detected. The Consultant's take on this was a very surprising: 'delayed' response to the chemotherapy. My take on it – who knows which component had the upper hand, but which ever factor it was it is clear that Harriet improved with the change of remedies.

Please do not misunderstand my point in writing this article. I am not claiming to have 'cured' this cancer case with homeopathy, far from it. The point is to illustrate how homeopathy can be of benefit within the orthodox framework of treatment.

So why write about this case after several years? Well, a few days ago, out of the blue, I received a phone call from Harriet. She was just calling to have a chat and say that she was very well and could she refer a friend to me.


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About Dr Neil Slade

Dr Neil Slade  PhD LCH RSHom. Neil is a senior lecturer at two leading complementary therapy colleges and has two busy homeopathic practices. He is the Deputy Director of Pure Medicine in London's Harley Street. He regularly contributes articles to the national press, radio and television. Neil can be contacted on Tel: 01372 361669;

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