Healing and Curing

"The physician's highest and only calling is to make the sick healthy, to cure, as it is called." - Samuel Hahnemann, The Organon of the Medical Art.

‘The curing may be in the body, but being cured is not necessarily living a full life. Healing is coming to wholeness.’ – Marion Woodman

In the intense fear of the disease and the almost frantic desire for the patient and care-givers to find a treatment, the issue of the quality of life of the patient is often forgotten. The decision about what kind of treatment, the effects of treatment, the stage at which treatment is begun or stopped, the age of patient, and other factors directly or indirectly impact the quality of life the patient. That is why decisions about treatment modalities should be made by informing the patient about all the factors involved.

Orthodox medicine by its very nature and focus on measurable outcomes, concentrates on the pathological changes in the body (size of tumor, tumor markers, and other tests). This focus often neglects to take into consideration the human being who is manifesting these physical changes, and the mental/emotional impact the cancer has on the patient. We are more than just physical beings. In an age of heroic orthodox medicine which desires to 'conquer' disease and death, we have lost our ability to deal with psychological and spiritual issues that arise as result of dis-ease. That is the fundamental difference between healing and curing.

For many patients this distinction is not clear. It is important for cancer patients and their care givers to understand this distinction since the disease is more than just the presence of a tumor. We should be interested in the whole person and their healing journey, even if it means healing into death. Ian Watson, a professional homeopath and healer, speaks about the elements of the healing journey for any human being:

Symptom Relief: looking outside until you are ready & willing to look inside
Self-responsibility: recognition of your participation in both suffering & healing
Self-fulfillment: transformation through and beyond suffering ~ becoming a whole person

This distinction is also discussed in some detail in a
chapter on healing from Michael Lerner's book Choices in Healing.

An informed and integrated view of treatment options will allow the patient to make their own decision as to what should or should not be done in treating cancer.