Ayurveda defines cancer as a chronic imbalance of tridosha (pathophysiological entity), datus (tissue), and triguna (mental nature) and can be treated without side effects. In Ayurvedic concept, according to 'Charaka' and 'Sushruta Samhitas', cancer is described as inflammatory or non-inflammatory swelling and referred to as 'Granthi' (minor neoplasm) or 'Arbuda' (major neoplasm). The nervous system (Vata or air), the venous system (Pitta or fire) and the arterial system (Kapha or water) are three basic elements of Ayurveda and very important for the normal functioning of the body.
How Cancer Spread?
As a cancerous tumor grows, the bloodstream or lymphatic system can carry cancer cells to other parts of the body. In this process, cancer cells can develop into new tumors. This is known as metastasis.
One of the first places where cancer often spreads is the lymph nodes. The lymph nodes are small, bean shaped organs that help fight infection. They are grouped in different parts of the body, such as the neck, groin, and armpits.
Cancer can also spread to remote parts of the body through the bloodstream. These parts may include bone, liver, lungs, or brain. Even if the cancer spreads, it is named after the area where the cancer started. For example, if breast cancer has spread to the lungs, it is called metastatic breast cancer, not lung cancer.
Types of Cancer
Doctors classify cancers based on where they occur. Four main types of cancer are here:
Carcinoma: Cancer begins in the skin or the tissue that covers the surface of internal organs and glands. Carcinomas usually form solid tumors. They all are the most common type of cancer. The examples of carcinoma include breast cancer, prostate cancer, colorectal cancer, and lung cancer.
Sarcoma: Sarcoma begins with the tissues that support and connect the body. Sarcomas can occur in fat, muscle, nerves, tendons, joints, blood vessels, lymphatic vessels, cartilage, or bone.
Leukemia: Leukemia is a cancer of the blood. Leukemia begins when healthy blood cells change and become uncontrollable. The four main types of leukemia are acute lymphocytic leukemia, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, acute myelogenous leukemia, and chronic myelogenous leukemia.
Lymphoma: Lymphoma is cancer that forms in the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is a network of blood vessels and glands that help fight infection. There are two main types of lymphoma. Hodgkin's lymphoma and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
Causes of Cancer
There can be various causes for cancer, some of the common reasons include:
DNA damage or mutations resulting in damage to genes involved in cell division
Carcinogens such as tobacco
Ultraviolet rays and automobiles
Passive smoking and chewing tobacco
Alcohol use and obesity
Lack of physical activity
Sunlight and excessive exposure to ultraviolet light
Exposure to X-ray radiation
Cell phones and cell phone towers
Symptoms of Cancer
Indigestion problems or trouble swallowing
Unexplained weight loss
Cancer Treatment in Ayurveda
Ayurvedic cancer treatment is very profound and holistic in its approach. Ayurveda treats illness according to the specific nature of the patient, the aggravated bodily energies involved, and the bodily tissues that are affected.
The treatment does not only focus on the area of the malignancy but on the entire system, as the entire organism must return to harmony so that the disease is treated permanently and does not recur elsewhere.
The body must be cleansed of toxins that cause cells to attack the body. Treatment includes the administration of herbs to cleanse the blood along with the adoption of a detoxifying diet. Circulatory-stimulating herbs are also prescribed to promote circulation, change blood stagnation, increase efficient elimination of toxins, and help heal tissues. Herbs and minerals that restore immunity are administered to increase the strength of weakened patients.
Important part of the treatment is the relaxation of the mind. Suppression of emotion or emotional stagnation is a significant causal factor and a barrier to effective treatment of this condition. The patient needs to heal himself at the deepest level of his individuality. Meditation, counseling, yoga, pranayama, and the study of spiritual philosophy are recommended to support this aspect of personal healing.
Ayurvedic treatment Ayurvedic holistic methods for cancer treatment include:
Abstinence from foods and lifestyle that cause tridosha (vata, pitta, kapha) imbalance, Elimination of toxins through Panchakarma, Restoration of healthy functions of jatharagni (digestive power), Rejuvenation through rasayanas, Ayurvedic preparations can act as an adjuvant or adjunctive therapy along with chemotherapy or radiation therapy. It is also of great help in postoperative care, Ayurvedic medicines help minimize the side effects of these therapies.
Immunotherapy: Immunotherapy is one of the effective cancer treatment therapies in which the body's natural defences are stimulated to fight cancer. This therapy works in either of two ways: it stops the growth of cancer-causing cells or slows the growth of cancer cells. Immunotherapy drugs are constantly evolving and are accepted by cancer patients as they have less well-known reactions or side effects compared to chemotherapy and radiation.
Doctors have identified several ways to reduce cancer risk, including:
Give Up Smoking: Quit smoking if you smoke. If you don't smoke, don't start. Smoking is reason of several types of cancer, not just lung cancer. Quitting smoking now can reduce your risk of cancer in the future.
Avoid Exposure to Excessive Sunlight: The sun's harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays can increase the risk of skin cancer. Stay in the shade, wear protective clothing, or apply sunscreen to limit exposure to sunlight.
Eat A Healthy Diet: Choose a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Choose whole grains and lean proteins. Limit your intake of processed meats.
Exercise Most Days of The Week: Regular exercise helps reduce the risk of cancer. Do atleast 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week. If you don't exercise regularly, start slowly and exercise for at least 30 minutes.
Keep A Healthy Weight: Being overweight or obese can increase the risk of cancer. Strive to achieve and maintain a healthy weight by combining a healthy diet with regular exercise.
If You Choose to Drink, Drink Moderate Alcohol: If you choose to drink alcohol, drink it in moderation. For healthy adults, this means up to 1 cup a day for women and up to 2 cups a day for men.
Schedule A Cancer Screening Test: Talk to your doctor about what type of cancer screening is best for you based on your risk factors.
Talk to Your Doctor About Immunity: Certain viruses increase the risk of cancer. Immunization can help prevent viruses such as hepatitis B, which increases the risk of liver cancer, and human papillomavirus (HPV), which increases the risk of cervical and other cancers.