Concept of Cancer in Ayurveda


In Ayurveda cancer can be  co related with ARBUDA. Signs and symptoms of pre and post cancerous stages can be observed under different conditions like Gulma (Cystic growth), Apachi (Benign growth), Gandmala (Lymphatic growth) etc. Vitiated Doshas afflict Rakta, medo and mamsa dhatus and cause Arbuda. Pathogenesis in ayurveda is explained on the bases of tridoshas. Agni or pitta that resides in each and every cell of the body is responsible for digestion and metabolism on cellular level. Diminished or decreased Agni is inversely proportional to the related issue and therefore in Arbuda decreased state of Dhatwagni will cause excessive growth of the tissue.

ETIOLOGY OF ARBUDA

Ayurveda says there is no disease without imbalance of Doshas. Cancer develops due to metabolic crisis like aggravation of vata and suppression of kapha. Both the doshas interact with each other and and dhatus and causes the cells of our body to proliferate. All the doshas  and dhatu involved in Arbuda and their vitiating factors are as follows

  • Vata :  Excess intake of Tikta(bitter), katu(pungent), kashaya(astringent), ruksha(dry and rough foods). Excess worrying or stress
  • Pitta :  Excessive intake of Amla(Sour), katu(pungent), lavan(salty) diet, Vidahi(fried, spicy food), krodh(anger), Tobacco consumption or smoking, continuous contact with chemical or mechanical irritants(Sunlight, radiation)
  • Kapha :   Excessive intake of sweetsoursalty and oily diet, Sedentary lifestyle
  • Rakta :  Excessive intake of fast food, sour and hot diet
  • Mamsa :  Excessive intake of mamsa(red meat in perticular), irregular eating habits, injury to the body parts
  • Meda :  Excessive intake of oily, sweet diet, Sedentary lifestyle, excessive Alcohol consumption.

TYPES OF ARBUDA

  1. Vataj arbuda
  2. Pittaj arbuda
  3. Kaphaj arbuda
  4. Medo arbuda
  5. Mamsaj Arbuda
  6. Raktaj arbuda
  7. Sthanarbuda(Agantuj sthan rog, eg.  breast cancer)
  8. Karnarbud (Cauliflower ear)
  9. Nasarbuda
  10. Oshtharbuda
  11. Jiwharbuda

TYPES ON THE BASIS OF PROGNOSIS

  • SADHYA (curable or benign) :  It mostly consists of cysts, benign tumours, chronic inflammatory swellings. Though over a time period Sadhya arbuda may become asadhya i.e. it can spread from one place to other which can be called as metastatic stage.
  • ASADHYA (incurable or malignant) :  Most Raktaj, mamsaj and tridoshaj Arbuda  occuring in ear, nose, throat. Adhyarbuda and Dvirarbuda are two stages of arbuda that can be corelated with metastatic stage.

Some features of Asadhya Arbuda explained in Ayurveda are :

  • Raises or rolled edges
  • Multiple firm, fleshy masses resembling cauliflower with various types of discharges.
  • Some generalized symptoms like Anorexia, chronic cough, cachexia suggesting the spread to other places (Metastasis)

SIGN  AND  SYMPTOMS

GENERAL : Appearance of round, immobile, deep rooted, large and fast growing unripe swelling.

SPECIFIC :

  • Vataj Arbuda : Black colour, roughcuttingchurning type sharp pain
  • Pittaj Arbuda : Reddish yellow colour, hot and burning sensation, necrotic, pricking pain.
  • Kaphaj Arbuda : Slow growing, stony hard and cold, less painful, severe  itching
  • Medoj arbuda : Tumour increases and decreases with body weight, smooth, large, itchy and painless swelling.
  • Raktaj Arbuda : Polyp  like appearance, spreads quickly and increases in size quickly and severe bleeding may be there.
  • Mamsaj Arbuda : Skin coloured, immobile,painlessstony hard, glistening swelling.

GENERAL LINE OF TREATMENT

  • Shodhan chickitsa (Panchkarma procedures)
  • Dhatwagni chikitsa (Correction of metabolic defects)
  • Rasayana prayoga (Immunotherapy)
  • Vyadhipratyanika chikitsa ( Anti cancerous drugs)
  • Lakshanika chikitsa ( Symptomatic treatment)
  • Shastra chikitsa and agnikarma (Surgical treatments and cauterisation)

TREATMENT OF VATAJ ARBUDA

    1. Mild sudation : Powder of Kushmanda(Benincasa hispida), narikela(Cocos nucifera), priyala (Buchnania lanzan), eranda(Ricinis communis) beej along with ghee or  milk is made into paste and applied over the Arbuda as Upnaha swed or poultice
    2. Application of swabs dipped in medicated oil that is treated with herbs having bitter property.
  • Bloodletting with shringi.

TREATMENT OF PITTAJ ARBUDA

    1. Mild sudation (Dravya sweda)
    2. Upnaha swed(poultice) with the drugs of Kakolyadi gana
    3. Scraping with the leaves of Teak
    4. Application of medicated paste of Aragwadha(Cassia fistula), Gojiwha(Onosma bracteatum), Trivrit(Operculina turpatham)
    5. Mridu virechana (mild purgation)
    6. Udumbar and Shakhotak patra lepan
  • Visravan 

TREATMENT OF KAPHAJ ARBUDA

  1. Vaman(Emesis)
  2. Virechana(Purgation)
  3. Raktamokshana(Blood letting)
  4. Kshar prayog(Application of alkali), Cautery, Surgery(if needed)

TREATMENT OF MEDOJ ARBUDA

  1. Swedan followed by surgical excision.  Haridra, Lodhra, Manashila are made into powder and applied externally by mixing with honey.
  2. After surgical removal of tumour, doshas are removed from the body with emesis and purgation. For the postoperative care, oil cooked with Premna herbacea, Embelia ribes, Cissampelos pareira can also be applied.

SINGLE DRUGS IN CANCER  TREATMENT

  1. AMLA(Emblics officinalis) : Its called Ayurveda superfood. It is one of the richest source of vitamin C. Also contains quercetin, gallic acid, tannins, flavonoids, pectins and various polyphenolic compounds, making it the best rejuvenating or Rasayana herb. It kills and prevents the growth  cancer cells without harming the healthy ones.
  2. GARLIC :  It contains sulphur, flavonoids, argentine and selenium. It is known for its antibacterial  properties and ability to stop the formation and activation of cancer cells. One adult should consume 2-5grams or one bulb of garlic.
  3. TURMERIC : It is anti oxidant, analgesic, anti inflammatory. Curcumin component of turmeric is potent anti oxidant scavenging free radicals and inhibiting the growth of cancer cells.
  4. ASHWAGANDHA (Withania somnifera) : It helps the body deal with stress. Withaferin A is a crystalline steroidal compound present in it which has anti cancer properties. Its leaf extract possesses the same properties.
  5.  HOLY BASIL (Tulasi) : It is immunity booster, fights stress, anti inflammatory, analgesic. Phytochemicals present in Tulasi prevents chemically induced lungliveroral, and skin cancers by increasing anti oxidant activities, altering gene expressions and killing cancer cells and preventing the metastasis.

ROLE OF YOGA ASANAS AND PRANAYA IN CANCER TREATENT

  • Lower fatigue
  • Reduces stress :   Battling a life threatening disease is physically, emotionally and mentally exhausting so yoga and meditation can help with this aspect of cancer.
  • Better sleep
  • Improves physical functioning

Few asanas are :

  • ARDH MATSYENDRASANA( seated spinal twist)  helps with digestion and nausea.
  • VIPARIT KARANI MUDRA (Legs up the wall) helps with fatigue
  • SUPT BADHA KONASANA(Reclined cobbler’s pose)  also helps with fatigue and relaxes and cals down the body and mind.
  • SEATED  MEDITATION
  • ALTERNATE  BREATHING or Pranayam in sukhasana.