In the UK, March is Ovarian Cancer Awareness month. Ovarian cancer is the biggest gynaecological killer of UK women, with UK survival rates amongst the worst in Europe. (Ovarian cancer awareness month, March 2017)
Having lost one of my closest friends to this insidious disease at the age of 45 (diagnosed at 39,) I am actively helping to spread awareness of the symptoms, in the hope that the patient is fully informed of treatment options and care, from the earliest signs. She was originally given a diagnosis of IBS, then PMS, despite the fact she looked 6 months pregnant. It took over a year to get to the route cause of her condition. ‘Three quarters of women are diagnosed once the cancer has already spread, making treatment more difficult. That is why awareness is so important, to drive forward improvements in detection, treatment and ultimately survival.’ (Ovarian cancer awareness month, March 2017)
Because there is much difficulty in its diagnosis, (evidently, even amongst the medical profession!) any help in clarification of the symptoms, and potential reasons for the development of the disease, has to be good. I, as both a health professional and from a personal point of view, would like to see more research into the possible causes. Vibrant health stems from prevention, where possible.
Symptoms and possible causes
According to The Mayo Clinic (June, 2014) symptoms may include:
- Abdominal bloating or swelling
- Quickly feeling full when eating
- Weight loss
- Discomfort in the pelvis area
- Changes in bowel habits, such as constipation
- A frequent need to urinate
Certain factors may increase your risk of ovarian cancer:
- Ovarian cancer can occur at any age but is most common in women ages 50 to 60 years.
- Inherited gene mutation. A small percentage of ovarian cancers are caused by an inherited gene mutation. The genes known to increase the risk of ovarian cancer are called breast cancer gene 1 (BRCA1) and breast cancer gene 2 (BRCA2). These genes were originally identified in families with multiple cases of breast cancer, which is how they got their names, but women with these mutations also have a significantly increased risk of ovarian cancer.
- Estrogen hormone replacement therapy, especially with long-term use and in large doses.
- Age when menstruation started and ended. If you began menstruating before age 12 or underwent menopause after age 52, or both, your risk of ovarian cancer may be higher.
- Never being pregnant.
- Fertility treatment.
- Use of an intrauterine device.
- Polycystic ovary syndrome.
(Mayo Clinic, 2014)
Homeopathic management of ovarian cancer
I would strongly recommend that the homeopath ensures the patient presenting with ovarian cancer has a diagnosis and is aware of all the potential routes to healing, which may be conventional, or a combination of both holistic, homeopathic, naturopathic and the allopathic approach (including addressing the diet for optimum nutrition, if necessary.) A homeopath would take the entire case history, and prescribe according to the presenting symptoms. This would help to balance the system, on every level, emotionally, physically and spiritually. Were surgery required, homeopathy can be wonderful to help both the trauma of physical and emotional healing. The homeopathic approach to the patient in these circumstances (as with any serious, life threatening disease) would be individualised and would be aimed at addressing the route cause of the disease as well as the symptoms presented. Any support at this time which could help healing, would be welcomed. Remedy choice would be determined by symptoms specific to the individual.
Because of the complexity of the disease, a fully integrated expert approach would be optimal, hopefully resulting in the patient’s recovery and enhancing the quality of life whilst undergoing treatment. My dear friend (having had stage 4 ovarian cancer) lived 4 years longer than her original prognosis of 2 years. She was sure it was attributed to the rich, multi disciplinary route she adopted, following high quality, specialist advice from every corner. This valuable, time, allowed her to see her son almost finish his schooling; precious, irreplaceable years. It has taken me a long time to be able to do, what she wanted and asked me to do, which is to try to help and inform others; asking them to look at the bigger picture and take into account everything that constitutes ‘the body.’ I dedicate this to her, her beauty and her bravery.
Consult a registered homeopath at www.findahomeopath.org
Ovarian cancer symptoms/causes [online] June 2014
Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month [online ] March 2017. Available at: http://ocam.org.uk/