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Pink October and breast cancer : supported by homeopathy !

Every year in October, the breast cancer campaign raises awareness about early detection and raises funds for research into the disease. This 27th edition is an opportunity to remind affected women that the survival rate is now 87% [1], and that solutions such as homeopathy exist to help them better cope with treatments.

 

 

Photo credit : Design vecteur créé par freepik – fr.freepik.com

Because cancer wipes you out and can affect more than just your body, right from diagnosis it is very important to integrate all practices and treatments that will help improve your quality of life both during and after treatment. October is traditionally devoted to breast cancer prevention and women’s awareness of early detection.

 

Breast cancer, the most common cancer in women

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women. While it is the leading cause of death in women, representing 14% of deaths, ahead of colorectal cancer and lung cancer, people’s survival has significantly improved over the years. Indeed, the mortality rate has decreased and there is an 87% survival rate at 5 years.

The incidence rate almost doubled between 1990 and 2018, from 30,000 to 58,400 new cases of breast cancer in women, representing an average increase of 1.1% per year.

These figures can largely be explained by changes in screening practices, better diagnosis and a significant improvement in available treatments.

Several risk factors have been identified, such as age, genetic predisposition, a history of breast disease or high-dose medical chest irradiation. Modifiable factors such as alcohol consumption and tobacco use can also affect the development of breast cancer, according to a study by Santé Publique France [2]. According to this study, in 2015 in metropolitan France, around 15.1% of breast cancers among women over 30 years of age were attributable to alcohol consumption and 4.4% to tobacco use.

 

While homeopathy does not directly treat breast cancer, it complements primary therapies to help patients better cope with their treatment by improving their quality of life.

 

Pink October, an annual effort to combat breast cancer

Launched in 1985, Pink October is an annual campaign to raise awareness, promote breast cancer screening and raise funds for research. It is also a time when information and prevention are placed in the spotlight, while providing support to those affected by the disease.

It involves associations and healthcare professionals in screening for the disease by organising workshops and conferences, but also walks and races that take place in several cities such as Strasbourg. Known as the Strasbourgeoise, this event has been organised since 2010 by the Association des Courses de Strasbourg Europe and the Office des Sports de Strasbourg, in partnership with the company Lilly, where women meet to form “a pink wave” during several events including Nordic walking, canoeing and races. Other sports activities include the famous Courir pour Elles race, usually held in spring.

 

Homeopathic healthcare professionals also involved in this month

Pink October involves associations and healthcare professionals providing information on screening for the disease. These stakeholders also include unions, federations, associations and laboratories that promote homeopathy and provide new insight into breast cancer.

While homeopathy does not directly treat breast cancer, it complements primary therapies to help patients better cope with their treatment by improving their quality of life.

 

Homeopathy, a recognised ally in oncology

Widely used in oncology, homeopathy has the advantage of having no side effects and no known interaction with other treatments. It responds to patients’ needs for support throughout the care pathway, whether this is when the diagnosis is announced, during treatment itself or during the post-cancer period, without inducing dependency.

According to Dr Jean-Lionel Bagot, the distinctive feature of breast cancer is that patients “will suffer more from their treatments than from the disease itself. This medical paradox […] makes it especially deserving of effective supportive treatment. Quality homeopathic care will help provide them with the support they need to endure this hardship. Patients make their approach a choice and a positive decision against their disease.

From diagnosis, homeopathy reduces symptoms related to anxiety, such as the feeling of having a lump in the throat and sleep disorders. During treatment, it allows the body to recover better in the event of surgery. Lastly, in the post-cancer period, homeopathy can be used in the event of persistent symptoms like disturbed sleep and fatigue. Evidently, homeopathy must be integrated within the framework of a medical protocol, and is in no way a treatment for cancer.

 

 

Access the interview with Dr Alain Toledano and the interview with Dr Jean-Lionel Bagot who present the Institut Rafaël, an integrative medicine centre that offers a new way of understanding the support required by cancer patients including supportive care like homeopathy.

 

 

Close-up on… homeopathy to support hormone therapy

To reduce the risk of cancers recurring, some doctors use hormone therapy, prescribed for women with breast cancer. They are then referred to as “hormone-sensitive”. Hormone therapy acts on certain hormones that stimulate cancer cells.

It can be used alone (thyroid cancer) or in combination with other cancer treatments. In breast cancer, for example, it is always preceded by surgery. Again however, there are side effects which vary from patient to patient, and include joint pain, osteoporosis, hot flushes, decreased libido, vaginal dryness, erectile dysfunction, migraines and mood swings.

Homeopathy may be recommended in this situation to support the hormone therapy, and prevent or treat symptoms induced by hormone therapy. For all of these reasons, homeopathy is now the most commonly used non-conventional supportive care used by cancer patients in France [3].

 

[1] Age standardised net survival at 5 years: 87%; at 10 years: 76% according to INCa the French National Cancer Institute

[2] Source: Santé publique France

[3] VICAN Report 5. “Life five years after a cancer diagnosis”. French National Cancer Institute, June 2018