Sir Winston Churchill, the great Prime Minister of England during World War II, was a heavy cigar smoker. When he was asked what he thought about smoking and its possible bad effects, he replied, "Humbug". In the light of present day research his reply was appropriate, for even though cigarette smoking has been linked to cancer, it has not been conclusively proven that smoking causes cancer. In fact, the real cause of cancer remains to be discovered.
Only when man finds out why cancer grows within the human body will he be able to devise a cure. The human body is a very intricate and amazingly adaptable organism. It reacts efficiently to the outside environment and to internal need. A lot of preparation is required to successfully grow a cancer. Research points out that you must inundate your body with toxic chemicals; put your whole lifestyle out of balance with natural cycles; indulge in excessive amounts of tobacco, alcohol and unhealthy food; lose all spirituality and direction in life and become immersed in despair, hopelessness' and negative thinking, if you are to prepare your body as soil to receive the seed of cancer.
Researchers disagree on the causes of. cancer. Some claim that smoking is a cause, yet others have pointed out evidence gathered from the hill tribes of India where villagers smoking pure, unrefined tobacco almost continuously show no signs of cancer. Malnutrition has been cited as a cause of cancer, however, in affluent countries the majority of people with cancer are well fed, if not overweight. Meat chemicals, radiation and irritation have also been cited as causes of certain forms of cancer, but little has been proven. Another approach must be found.
Allopathy or modern medicine has spent billions of dollars in efforts to discover the cause of cancer. Though nothing has been conclusively proved, a number of interesting points have emerged from this work.
The Centre for the Healing Arte, USA, is exploring the mind and its role in cancer. They have observed that cancer patients have a sense of 'hopelessness' due to unfulfilled expectations in their lives. This could take the form of professional failure, broken relationships, or simply disappointment and frustration over an uneventful life. There is also an element of sexual repression and unsatisfying sexual activity.
Caroline B. Thomas studied medical students between the years 1946 and 1964 and showed that cancer occurred in quiet, non-aggressive and emotionally contained people. They scored low on tests of anger, anxiety and depression, but were lonely individuals who had not been very close to their parents.
In the 1950's psychotherapist Lawrence Le Shan spotted a common denominator amongst cancer patients. In early life as children, the patients had undergone experiences that had weakened their ability to make emotional relationships. Later in life, many had lost a parent, brother or sister and had come to view emotional relationships with pain and loneliness. Others had formed satisfying emotional relationships or happy personal situations in employment or at home, only to have these end abruptly. This shattered and left them without hope, believing they were forever doomed to loneliness. Thus the two important factors which stand out are hopelessness and loss.
Vernon Riley of the Northwest Research Foundation, reported that stress played a part in the development of cancer in mice. Anxiety and fear in a special strain produced cancer 92% of the time, Riley suggested that this anxiety interferes with the immune mechanics and the defence system of the body which is normally responsible for defending the body from alien material, of which cancer is one type.
That mental processes are important in cancer has been pointed out by Jeanne Achterberg of the University of Texas Health Science Center, Frank Lawlis of North Texas State University, and Stephanie Simon ton of the Cancer Counseling and Research Center, USA. They reported in the December Multivariate Clinical Experimental Research that psychological factors can be more helpful in predicting the course of cancer than blood tests.
"Psychological factors did predict follow up disease status, whereas blood chemistries indicated no such relationship, but are merely reflective of the body's current status... Psychological factors seem to foretell or precede certain physical response patterns... If a patient utilizes a great deal of dental, if he sees his body having little ability to fight the disease, and if he expresses significant dependencies on others, he is more likely to receive a poor disease prognosis upon two month follow-up."*1
Naturopaths tend to view cancer as resulting from repeated suppression of acute cleansing crises. According to naturopathy, illness is an attempt to eliminate toxins. If this elimination process is suppressed through the use of drugs such as antibiotics, then the toxins accumulate and chronic disease results. Wastes are said to build up in the colon, joints and body organs with associated discomfort and offensive odours. When waste accumulation becomes extensive enough, cancer results.
Some naturalists have theorized that cancer is caused when bloodstream pollutants exceed the filtration capacity of the liver, kidney, lymph nodes and lungs, and the brain sends out signals to the body cells to store the waste matter as a cyst, mole, cancer or other disease. The disease is then classified according to where the waste is stored, the amount of waste, the type of waste, and the speed with which it is stored.
Naturopaths also support the view that meat causes cancer in certain people. They link this with a high protein content as well as excessive amounts of toxins contained in the blood of red meats. Dr Albert Lorincz, professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at the University of Chicago, USA has lent support to this theory. His research shows that cancer cells are reduced in mice with breast and liver cancer when amino acids, leucine and phenylalanine are removed from the diet. Some success has been reported in humans subjected to low protein diet in the treatment of cancer.
Some naturopaths recommend fasting to cure cancer, or drinking only certain types of vegetable or fruit juices such as wheat grass, carrot or grape juice, in an attempt to reverse the cancerous process. Others use herbs; beetroot therapy; high potassium, low sodium foods; glyoxide, a compound claimed to restore proper oxidation in body cells and transmute toxins; Horsey treatment, an herbal tonic-vitamin and mineral therapy; mitoxzyme therapy, a protein-enzyme medication; lactic acid fermentation diet, and laetrile therapy.
Laetrile, the controversial anticancer drug gleaned from the pits of apricots is a concentrated form of a vitamin B related compound called B17. This form of therapy is being used by Dr Ernesto Contreras in Mexico who states that laetrile has certain properties that can stop the progress of the cancer and even reverse it if it is not too far advanced. However, there is no quick cure; bad habits must be corrected and the whole lifestyle properly regulated from diet to emotions. Laetrile therapy, prescribed lifestyle and diet must be maintained for life if the cure is to work. Laetrile's main claim is its ability to stop pain. This is usually accompanied by a return of physical strength and appetite, which any cancer patient would appreciate.
Auto-urine therapy is mentioned in Damara Tantra where it is called shivambu kalp vidhi, the process of changing and revitalizing body through drinking one's own urine.
Urine, the end stage of water and salt metabolism in the body, is said to contain many ingredients which can be used to heal the body. It is also charged by vast amounts of pranashakti contained within the kidneys. Some theorists say that urine therapy works in the same way as immunological therapy. For example, a cancer patient's urine contains the waste products from the cancer, so that when it is re-ingested these products may stimulate the body to attack the cancer. Immunologists use this theory to stimulate a body response to cancer after inoculation with BCG (anti-tubercular gammaglobulin). J., W. Armstrong, in his book The Water of life - a treatise on urine therapy, claims to have cured many cases of cancer through urine therapy. Urine is drunk combined with fasting, and urine packs are placed over the site of the cancer.
Yoga sees the cause of most disease as originating in the mind. The roots of physical imbalance and disharmony are embedded in chaotic mental processes, dissipation of parts of the mental network, and lack of awareness of the energies and forces at work within the mind. When the mind becomes dissipated, the body cannot function properly and cancer or other diseases result. Therefore, the value of yogic techniques to harmonize and balance the whole body-mind complex cannot be overestimated.
The use of pranayama to help treat cancer patients has been advocated by yogis for some time on the basis that people with cancer have mental problems. The cramped atmosphere of the neurotic mind and its negative effects on the body influence all levels of our being. We see this immediately reflected in the breath. Mental tension and emotional imbalance inhibit the free, full, deep, relaxed, natural breathing rhythm that characterizes the healthy person and predisposes us to good health. This inhibition of the natural breathing process leads to deficient oxygenation of all body tissues, allowing waste products and toxins to accumulate.
Recent studies on pranayama techniques have shown that extra oxygen is utilized by the cells, and this may help kill off cancer cells, which contain little oxygen. In 1947 F. Windish withheld and reduced the oxygen supply to cells so that they became cancerous.
It has been shown that the mitochondria or energy producing part of the cell is dependent on an adequate supply of oxygen to produce the body's energy requirements. Decreased energy level seems to predispose the individual to cancer. Depression, hopelessness and other oxygen-energy reduced mental states are linked with cancer as has already been mentioned.
There are so many theories about the cause and cure of cancer. If we look at these theories individually, one by one, they may all seem to be humbug. To fully understand the underlying root causes of cancer and be able to successfully eradicate them requires deep and subtle perception of the body, emotions, mind and their relationship with the environment. To fully come to terms with all aspects of this disease we need a scientific system to expand our consciousness towards an awareness of a broader field than the one we are limited to now.
This system is tantra, freedom from limitations through the expansion of consciousness. Tantra will give us the insight to delve deeply into the cause of cancer and the strength and ability to unite all methods with the common aim of eradicating it.
*1. "Psychological Factors Predictive of Cancer's Course in Texas Study", Mind/Brain Bulletin, 21/l 1/77, vol. 2, no. 1