Cancer: Disease of Our Times

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By: Rita Leroi, M.D. & Walther Buehler, M.D.

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.

Wholesome Education
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 spiritual science, 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.

It may seem strange at first that
the education a child receives is significant for the avoidance of cancer.

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.

One should not 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 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.

Early Diagnosis
Regular medical examinations are strongly recommended for the recognition of precancerous conditions. To this end the development of special research methods arising out of spiritual science 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 and the Society of Cancer Research Hiscia.

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 spiritual science, 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) 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.


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