On World Cancer Day, Dr Kushal Banerjee says homoeopathy helps the side-effects arising out of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Dr Banerjee holds a Masters of Science in Evidence Based Medicine from the Oxford University. He has led and authored research on homoeopathy with collaborators from the University of Oxford and Imperial College, London. The Morning Standard spoke to Dr Banerjee, who consults from his clinic at Chittaranjan Park. Excerpts:
How does homoeopathy help in reducing the side-effects of cancer?
While the side-effects are specific to location and kind of cancer, there is suppression of the immune system in general wherein a patient’s blood count falls and chances of his/her picking up infection are high.
Homoeopathic medicines can help increase White Blood Cells here. These reduce the side-effects of chemotherapy [nausea, depression, loss of taste buds, etc.] and radiotherapy [burning of tissues] and surgery [maintaining normal body parameters] as also cancer management [those who have had full rounds of chemotherapy]. Sometimes side-effects are so serious that the next chemo session cannot be given. Some are those patients in whom cancer has been diagnosed at an advanced stage wherein they aren’t able to tolerate chemotherapy.
With homoepathy, we try to extend their lifespan and improve their quality of life. Homoeopathic medicines help in cases when a cancer patient has already contracted an infection, is weak and he/she cannot be given aggressive antibiotics.Similarly, our medicines help in case of neurological problems, where the patient experiences pain in the nerves or their peripheral nerves loose sensation. There’s nothing in allopathy, except vitamins and painkillers. Homoeopathy has effective medicines for treating non-healing wounds after cancer surgery.
Why is homoeopathy not favoured much by patients?
We have to deal with a lot of perception issues wherein some doctors think homoeopathy doesn’t work. Also, government outreach is lacking and there are biases in research publications and media. Those at the helm of medical journals return our research papers without even reading them.
Homoepathy is viewed to be a slow system…
It is not a slow system. It depends upon the illness that is being addressed. Only stubborn illnesses, which have no allopathic treatment, take time to be redressed. For example, an incurable skin condition may take years to mitigate, but a migraine can be cured in 15 days.
Has the setting up of the Ministry of Ayush by the Central Government helped?
It has, but in a very limited way for all the concerns of complementary and alternative medicines. We now have an exclusive minister as against a general health minister for whom pathies other than allopathy are low on priority.
What more do you think needs to be done?
To begin with, on ground delivery has to keep pace with announcements/policies.
No new CGHS clinic was opened in the past so many years, and the mohalla clinics in Delhi don’t offer homoeopathy services. Even the Ayushman Bharat Yojana lacks homoeopathy. I’m often told it is difficult to access subsidised homoeopathic medicines, due to which patients are forced to take allopathic medicines. It is astonishing that people opt for allopathy because it is cheap and easily available through the National Health Scheme.
Cushioning side-effects of cancer
Homoeopathic medicines can reduce the side-effects of chemotherapy [nausea, depression, loss of taste buds, etc.] and radiotherapy [burning of tissues] and surgery [maintaining normal body parameters] as also cancer management.