Cancer, though have increased recently in their intensity and frequency in humankind, has existed for many years. Ayurveda, which is the most comprehensive of all ancient medical systems, has detailed descriptions of cancers of different kinds and their own ayurvedic treatment methodologies.
In Ayurvedic texts, cancer is described as Granthi or as arbuda (different kinds of tumors). But as a direct translation of the word cancer is not available in ayurvedic texts, cancer is treated not as a single condition, but as a manifestation of a series of metabolic malfunctions in the body. The derangement of 3 humors of the body(Vata, Pitta & Kapha) due to the development of metabolic toxins and disharmony in the body, contributed by improper diet and lifestyle or genetic factors, can affect tissues and create proliferative growths which when is aggressive can lead to tumors and cancers. If they are left untreated, they can lead to death. Ayurvedic treatment of cancer can also vary according to the site of cancer, stage and symptoms presented by the patient. Additionally, an aggressive and chronic disease like cancer does not only disturb the body, it also affects the mind.
Ayurvedic treatment strategy for any chronic disease follows certain patterns. The first one will be Nidanaparivarjana or avoiding the circumstances that caused cancer to manifest in the body. Samprapti Ghataka or breaking the pathogenesis is also very important for the management of a chronic illness like cancer. This includes understanding the stage of progress of the disease in tissues and organs and adapting treatment methods that suit the current condition and proactively curing the illness. This can include purificatory treatments like panchakarma or pacifying therapies according to the ayurvedic treatment centre or physician. Ayurvedic treatments employ herbal decoctions which work on multiple biochemical pathways and influence different organ systems altogether and nourish the body as a whole by supporting the body’s defense systems.
Additionally, Rasayana chikitsa or rejuvenative therapy to bring all the depleted tissues to normalcy is important in the post-cancer recovery phase. Spiritual management plays a huge role in cancer management as well.
Ayurvedic treatment centres employ all different kinds of management at different stages of cancer appropriately.
If the aggressiveness of cancer demands surgery of other more aggressive allopathic management by a physician who is long familiar with the patient’s condition, one has to heed that suggestion before trying alternate medicines. The ayurvedic treatment centres should be open and communicate with the patient regarding the curability of the patient after a detailed study of the case.
Surgery/Chemo/Radiotherapy will leave the body extremely depleted and weak. Ayurvedic treatments can be used here to improve the health of the body, nourish the weak elements and restore the state of the body before it is ravaged by the claws of cancer.
Cancer is not a death sentence. Different systems of medicines around the world have comprehensive and effective ways to manage cancer at different capacities. Medicine systems can also be integrated to give more effective care to the patient as well. Ayurveda has a great role in the prevention and management of cancer, especially in the rejuvenation and restoration of the body to prevent future recurrence of cancer.