Carcinosinum – Homeopathic Remedy – Materia Medica Viva George Vithoulkas
A nosode from Carcinoma
The first to mention and use Carcinosin, the cancer nosode, was James Tyler Kent. He called it ‘Carcinoma’, and this is how he prepared the remedy: ‘The preparation of Carcinoma which I have used, for years, was taken from a mammary cancer. The patient had continual seeping of clear, colourless, watery discharge from the open cancer. A small quantity of this fluid was saved and potentised, and has served satisfactorily, in many cases of advanced carcinoma.’ He used it as a palliative in cancer cases: ‘Carcinoma relieves the sharp, burning tearing pains. With this remedy (nosode), patients have been kept comfortable, for many years, when cure was impossible and the cancerous development continued. The malignant process was delayed, and sufferings usually accompanying the condition were avoided’ (Kent, New Remedies, Lesser Writings, Clinical Cases, Aphorisms and Precepts, p. 523f).
The English homeopath James Compton Burnett and his well-known colleague J.H. Clarke were the next to do research and practice in the field of cancer nosodes. They used Scirrhinum primarily, which is said to have been taken from a hard cancer (scirrhus), and Carcinosinum (according to Clarke’s account, in his book ‘The Cure of Tumours’, this nosode is derived from a hard cancer). They began to use these remedies for conditions other than cancer (e.g. threadworms and certain mental cases). Clarke relates that Burnett also did a fragmentary proving of Scirrhinum upon himself.
Following this work, cancer nosodes are seldom mentioned, the exceptions being a few lines in Boericke’s Pocket Manual and some other authors, including Nebel (who worked in Davos, and LeHunt Cooper and Burford) who published some cases that were successfully treated by Carcinosin. Donald Foubister is the one to whom the homeopathic community owes the rediscovery of these remedies. In 1952 he noted that children whose mothers had had cancer during pregnancy exhibited a certain appearance, consisting mainly of blue sclerotics, a cafe-au-lait complexion and numerous black circular moles. This made him wonder whether this appearance had its origin in the mothers’ cancer. He began to collect similar cases and to prescribe Carcinosin for those of his patients who had these characteristics along with a family history of cancer, with considerable success. Subsequently Lees Templeton directed a veritable proving of the remedy. (Unfortunately, the origin of the Carcinosinum preparation which was obtained from Nelson is now unknown. It is possible that it dates back to Burnett’s, Clarke’s, Nebel’s, or Cooper’s efforts.) This was the beginning of the rapid development of homeopathic knowledge about the cancer nosodes, a development in which many authors took part. New preparations have been made and used, including Carcinosinum Adeno-Stom. (from cancer of the glandular epithelium of the stomach), Carcinosinum Lungs, Carcinosinum Mammae, Carcinosinum Intest Ca. (from cancer of the bowel), Carcinosinum Uterus, Carcinosinum Adeno-Vesica (from malignant papilloma of the bladder).
The essential features
Carcinosin can be considered the nosode of a miasm: the cancerinic miasm. By cancerinic miasm we mean the inherited predisposition of an organism to develop malignant infection at a certain period of its life. It’s likely that scientists working in this field will soon find out the genetic code producing this predisposition, and that such a discovery may help us in more effectively prescribing this remedy.
For the last thirty years I have been stating that the development of cancer in an organism is a matter of predisposition that can be inherited. In the past, this idea was not fully accepted, but today it seems to be meeting growing acceptance due to the observed fact that Carcinosin acts in cases where there has been pervasive cancer in the ancestry of the patient. Caution should be exercised, however, as not all cases with a family history of cancer will definitely develop cancer.
Cancer is not really a disease per se, but a universal disturbance of the organism; there is no system, no organ, no place that cancer cannot afflict. The way it manifests and the specific location of the disturbance depends on the inherent sensitivities of the organism that have been inherited or developed during its lifetime. Influences from a disturbed environment also belong to the causative factors. Generally, cancer can be described as the outcome of a fundamental imbalance, which has developed from different diseases through the ages that have been suppressed or modified by wrong medication.
We must understand that global pathology is a continuum, as I have explained in my book ‘A New Model for Health and Disease.’ Disease processes are evolving in the same or a similar way to the social or spiritual evolution of human beings (or at least what we call an evolution). We say, for example, generally one nationality or race is more polite than another. What we may actually be implying unknowingly is that this evolved nation has undergone a series of degenerative processes through several generations of diseases that have transformed the primitive instincts into more acceptable forms of social behaviour; but not necessarily into more health. Evolution may be going hand in hand with degeneration, tempering or restraining some basic instincts of life that give pleasure or happiness on the physical level. When losing the pleasure on the physical level, the human being tries to find happiness through spiritual awareness. So disease is the discipline of the human being in its upward march for spiritual evolution.
The healer must be aware of these truths or realities, if he is to advise correctly on a case of deep suffering and take the individual from the unhappiness of the disease to the happiness of real health (see my definition of health in my book ‘The Science of Homeopathy,’ with the creativity of the human being as a criterion).
Carcinosin is a remedy with a wide range of applications and covers a lot of different pathologies. However, I think that today we do not yet know the exact, unique symptomatology that it produces and cures. This remedy – or some of its strains – is going to be an almost universal remedy, as more and more generations of cancer cases are appearing and leaving their mark upon their offspring. It is becoming increasingly applicable to today’s patients, as was Tuberculinum and Medorrhinum in earlier times. I believe that several strains of cancer, however, should be developed as separate remedies to cover the different types of cancerinic influence.
Carcinosin can be indicated either as a constitutional remedy, where it acts deeply and repeatedly if there is a relapse, or it may act as a remedy to uncover a certain layer of disturbance and to open up a case, whereby it will act only once and repetition will provide no results at all. Carcinosin may also be a useful remedy in manifest cancer cases, as in a lot of other pathologies, but, disappointingly, it does not act in a deep or curative manner in most of the active cases of cancer. This is because in order to benefit from its action the patient must have the rare and peculiar symptoms that belong to this remedy. This is in keeping with Kent’s statement that also in cancer cases ‘the aim of the physician, first, last,
and always, must be to find the remedy which most closely corresponds to the patient, and prescribe for the patient, whatever manifestation that patient may suffer, when the prescription is selected’ (op. cit., ‘Cancer Cures’, p. 522f). It is therefore important to understand the essence and individuality of the pathogenesis of Carcinosin, as far as it is currently known.
The remedy should be definitely thought of in cases where there is a strong tendency to cancer in the family, i.e. , even if the parents of the patient have not been affected by the disease but, rather, the grandparents or uncles or aunts. (Bear in mind that, if one person of the family has had cancer at a very late age, this cannot be called a ‘strong tendency.’)
There may also be other diseases in the family or individual history of Carcinosin cases, diseases that may have taken part in the development process of the cancerinic miasm, as explained above. These, however, may be taken as important hints towards the remedy, but no more than that. For example, we may see in the family anamnesis diseases such as diabetes, tuberculosis and other chest problems (including asthma), pernicious anaemia, leukaemia, problems of the alimentary tract (e.g. ulcers of the stomach). A severe reaction to vaccination (or a vaccination that, seemingly, did not ‘take’) in the family or individual history of the patient may also be found in Carcinosin cases, as well as an unusually early and prolonged occurrence of whooping cough or pneumonia or a delayed occurrence of childhood diseases (after puberty). You should not, however, take these pathologies in the family or individual history of the patient as a reliable substantiation for the prescription of Carcinosin. It is only a family history of cancer that can be considered a guiding symptom to the prescription of Carcinosin.
Boericke says, quoting Clarke: ‘It is claimed the Carcinosin acts favourably and modifies all cases in which either a history of carcinoma can be elicited, or symptoms of the disease itself exist.’ I disagree with the use of the word ‘all’, but definitely Carcinosin is a remedy that should be considered in such cases.
In order to understand the peculiarities of the remedy, we must bear in mind the main characteristics of cancer cases:
that there are excruciatingly painful experiences; that there is a disorder in the defence system of the organism, a disorganisation that tends towards total deterioration due to the multiplication of diseased cells, a tendency the defence mechanisms desperately try to put back in order; that it is a horrifying experience for the individual to have the ugliness of the cancer tumour in his body. The main characteristics of the remedy are the following: Easily offended, cannot stand any kind of reprimand; seeks order and control, becomes fastidious; sympathetic, compassionate, feels acutely the pain of others; horrible things affect them profoundly; lack of self-confidence, wants to please everybody, guilty feelings for something they have not done; lack of reaction, e.g., absence of fever etc.; precocity.
We shall now try to find the inner thread of this remedy picture along the lines of some of these characteristics.
Vulnerability and oversensitivity
Carcinosin people are generally very easily hurt. They are very vulnerable emotionally but try to conceal it. There are, however, different kinds of manifestations and reactions with this remedy. According to my understanding, two main types of Carcinosin patients can be differentiated, though there certainly exist others as well.
In the first type of people who need Carcinosin, the vulnerability manifests in an extreme sensitivity to mental, emotional or physical pain and, as a consequence, they cannot stand any reprimand. A strong fear of humiliation is present. The sensitivity to censure is so marked that they experience any kind of criticism as a shock. If rebuked they can go into a veritable hysteric state. They may weep and sob and get so upset that they stop breathing and turn purple.
The least remark seems to offend them greatly; they are offended by any comment that might cause some kind of pain because they feel this pain so acutely. Even if there is no intention on the part of the other person to cause them pain or attack them, even if the remark seems to be insignificant and unimportant to other people, they feel this way. They tend to take anything that happens poorly. A mother of a boy who needed Carcinosin said that she ‘…couldn’t tell him anything because any slightest hint of reproach made him go into spasmodic weeping.’
In addition, if something upsets them they often think about it for days on end; they simply cannot forget. They tend to brood a lot. In some cases they have to talk about it later on; after every incident of reprimand they come back to ask what, why, how and so on. It is an obstinate inability to let go.
Obstinacy in general is a symptom which has also been observed in Carcinosin cases.
This kind of sensitivity makes them live in a state of constant unhappiness. Grief and sorrow come easily into their lives, as they are so easily affected by hurt. Grief in Carcinosin does not necessarily come from great and substantial calamities, but from the everyday events of life that may constitute a mildly difficult situation for other people; these causes them tremendous pain.
After a number of years these patients develop severe symptomatology due to such compounded grief. It is the kind of grief that they will not discuss. They will not complain, will not show it. It can be said to be a silent grief. In this state Carcinosin appears to be similar to Natrum muriaticum, a remedy with which it shares some other symptoms as well.
There is, however, a different origin and a different quality concerning the ‘silent grief’ of Carcinosin. The Carcinosin grief has its source in a sense of weakness of the will – not wanting to confront others, not demanding, not asking for things – in a propensity to accept rather than demand. The grief of Nat-m. or Ignatia, on the other hand, is often a deep feeling that comes from a grave loss of a loved one, a grief that constricts the emotions and does not allow the patients to express any feelings. Carcinosin people will also become resigned more easily and keep quiet because they are afraid to disturb others by their complaining. Actually, it is a state somewhat between Staphysagria and Nat-m. in this respect. Repression of emotions is something quite common in this type of Carcinosin case.
Submissive and repressed
Fear of the rudeness of others is also frequent in these Carcinosin patients of the first type. As their defences are compromised, they feel unable to face the aggressiveness of the world from the time they were a child. Children of this type are submissive, well behaved, easy to handle, over-adaptive. They appear to be very kind, very obedient, very helpful. These are the children that please their parents, though intelligent and sensitive parents will see the weak points in them and will worry and report this to the doctor, because they understand that this kind of submissiveness is ‘not normal.’ Carcinosin children of this type cannot express their own demands toward others, they cannot ‘hold their own’ at school with other children. They also are unable to express what they need and want from their parents, and therefore they may also appear suppressed by them. This behaviour is reinforced if the parents are actually not aware of the particular sensitivities of the child.
These children have never been able to express their own individuality. They cannot ‘be themselves’ for fear that they will not be accepted, they will not be appreciated, they will not be loved, and thus they are in a state of constant insecurity. This is the prime underlying causation for their behaviour.
When they grow older they still feel that they have weak wills, cannot say no, want to please others. They appear as accepting, submissive or even repressed persons, but they do not understand or feel this as pathology, rather as a conviction that this is the best way to get along.
Lack of self-confidence, and depression
It is easy to understand that a lack of self-confidence is also present in these people. They do not believe in themselves enough to be able to pursue what they really want. Any emotional stress or conflict situation makes them feel almost sick. They avoid situations that might entail an argument; to avoid conflict children may, for instance, tolerate other children taking their toys away. Quarreling between the parents is something they are very sensitive to and can easily lead to their weeping and feeling full of despair. They desire harmony and perfection.
However, underneath all this behaviour there is a craving for affection. Children and grown-ups who need Carcinosin are all craving affection. They never tire of being hugged and being shown affection and protection. From feeling not loved, they can develop different ailments: fever, stomach pain, asthma and so on.
When patients of this type become depressed they often want to be by themselves; so that others do not feel sorry for them. In such a state, they do not like to talk, don’t want consolation, prefer to be alone and silent. There is an aversion to conversation (which also showed up in the proving), and conversation makes them feel worse. An interesting feature that has been observed in several Carcinosin cases is ‘sadness but cannot weep‘, even in cases of severe grief (e.g. death of the mother). So this outlet for the emotions is also blocked. A constant feeling of unhappiness, of discontent, of being unfortunate comes on, and they eventually become apathetic and indifferent, even to their family, or even enter a state of veritable depression with a disposition to suicide.
The second type of Carcinosin is a very small percent of the Carcinosin cases, which expresses aggression, anger and destructiveness. Although individuals of the second type of Carcinosin cannot tolerate reprimands, criticism, etc. either, they react in exactly the opposite way to the first. If there is any provocation from their parents or relatives, say some remark that might be understood as reproach, they feel tremendously offended and hurt and react with aggression and even violence, verbal or even physical. They swear and strike, and when angered, tend to bully others. They terrify everyone around. They are easily angered and very irritable, with a tendency to destructive outbursts and to destroy things. They become like bulldogs in their anger.
The tendency to destructive outbursts is also found in the first type, but in the second type of Carcinosin people it has a special quality: they are totally inconsiderate of the feelings of others. Often they will be brutal and rude in their behaviour towards their relatives or friends, but kind toward strangers. The underlying problem is, again, that these children feel unappreciated and unloved. In children of this type, a vicious circle is set in motion. In general, these children defend themselves against control and suppression by becoming abusive and aggressive; this is due to their imbalances. Because of this behaviour they fail to get acceptance from their parents, who are likely to exhibit a different attitude towards a brother or sister (who is better behaved). The parents tend to take the things the Carcinosin child says badly, and the child notices this and feels all the more hurt by any comment. They then react in an aggressive manner, which is absolutely unacceptable, at least to the parents. As can be seen, the factors from within and from without work together to aggravate the entire situation. The feature of obstinacy and headstrong behaviour, which has already been mentioned in type one, is again to be noted, but in type two it is much more direct.
They also react strongly to rejection. Sometimes they eat tremendous amounts of food, indiscriminately wolfing it down, everything mixed up together. They put on a lot of weight and become obese, and though they are disgusted with themselves they cannot resist. It seems that food replaces the lack of affection.
Horrible things and the supernatural
Both types of Carcinosin have a special sensitivity to horrible things, to everything that looks horrible. This is expressed by the insertion of this remedy in the rubric ‘Horrible things, sad stories affect her profoundly.’ Even the second type has, in spite of his bullying behaviour, a fear of anything that looks horrible to him. If he sees an animal that is wounded, he will not look at it. It horrifies him; he is terrified by the idea. (The reader may compare this feature with the horrifying idea of a tumour growing in the body, mentioned above.) This also connects with the sympathetic trait of Carcinosin that will be dealt with below.
Together with the fear of horrible things, there is in both types of Carcinosin a special sensitivity to the supernatural. The patients of the second type will, for all their aggression, have a fear of the beyond, of the supernatural, of ghosts, etc. At the same time, they can be attracted to stories about ghosts! And when Carcinosin patients proceed from their destructive outbursts to a state of real psychosis, the element of exaggeration, of the huge, the supernatural is again prominent.
In their state of irrationality, they express this exaggeration in different ways. They may often feel that they can do supernatural things, such as affect people distant from them, on another planet, can materialize things, can make flying saucers appear, can travel to other galaxies, can communicate with aliens, can change the weather, can manipulate the forces of nature according to their commands.
Powerful natural phenomena, in particular thunderstorms, may also exert a strong influence upon these patients. They can experience fear but can also enjoy thunderstorms in the same way as Sepia does.
Another strong characteristic that is found only in the first type is an inherent need to establish order, to remove the disorder around them (or so they feel) and in response to this need they can become fastidious. It is as if they feel the threat from the oncoming internal disorder.
The strong sense of order they possess compels them to become very tidy. Children may clear up their rooms meticulously, lining up their toys neatly. Grown-ups do their work very exactly, with over-attention to detail. They are conscientious about trifles and feel the urge to strive for perfection in everything they do. They very easily develop a guilty conscience, a feeling as if they had done something wrong, even when it is clear to an observer that there is nothing to worry about. They may feel the need to be busy all the time, which is expressed in the Repertory rubric ‘Industrious‘. Often being busy, especially in a physical sense, ameliorates the general condition, whereas taking a rest aggravates it. The strong sense of order is actually a feature that is more accentuated in Carcinosin cases than in Arsenicum cases, for whom the notion of fastidiousness is more characteristic or known. There are also cases where tidiness in most things goes along with untidiness in things considered unimportant by the patient.
On the other hand, if we have the second type of Carcinosin patient, we can see total disorder and uncleanness, absolute indifference to notions of order and discipline. These people might also expect order from others but do not and cannot apply it to themselves.
Anxiety and fears
All Carcinosin patients tend to be anxious and fears are an integral part of the picture. There is often a great deal of anticipation anxiety with a fear of failure, especially during examinations, but also in other situations. This is closely related to the fear of humiliation and reproach mentioned above and it can also assume the form of anxiety about the future. Fear of losing control appears, for instance, in the form that the patient says, “I think it is terrible when I’m overstrained. Everything is too much for me.”
Phobias of different kinds have also been observed in Carcinosin cases and have been cured by the remedy. Fear of heights may be very strong in some cases. There is also a fear of narrow places (claustrophobia); fear of busy streets (in a crowd); and many others. Fear of animals is frequent: of dogs, of cats, of birds; of ‘disgusting’ animals, a disgust mixed with fear of frogs, of snakes, of spiders, of all sorts of insects: bees, wasps, and so on. However, similar to what occurred with regard to the supernatural or huge natural phenomena discussed above (fear of ghosts but also attracted to hear stories of ghosts; fear of thunderstorms but also enjoyment watching a thunderstorm), there may also be an attraction to animals, and Carcinosin people may be great lovers of animals, though not to the degree that Aethusa patients are.
Other anxieties and fears are: anxiety while riding in a car, especially while riding fast; anxiety in the dark and fear of the dark; fear of earthquakes.
Carcinosin people also experience an inexplicable anxiety, for which they cannot determine the source, coupled with nervousness.
There is a great anxiety about health, especially a fear of getting cancer. In this remedy, though, anxiety about health often also refers to the health of others, especially to members of the family and to loved ones. The Carcinosin anxiety about others may be as strong as in Arsenicum, Phosphorus, and Sulphur, and this is true for both types. This is really a strange feature for persons of the second type who appear so inconsiderate of others during their anger spells. The second type of Carcinosin may, alternatively, exhibit a total indifference towards their family and loved ones and may even appear to be totally oblivious to the pain of others, not taking any notice of it (or so it seems).
Sympathetic and highly responsible
The first type of Carcinosin patients are very sympathetic and compassionate people. If you take into consideration the fact that they cannot demand anything for themselves and also that they feel pain and suffering so intensely, it is easy to see why they dwell as much as they do on other peoples’ problems. They are so sensitive to the sufferings of others that they feel exhausted by the involvement with their problems. They actually feel the pain of others in their body. These types of Carcinosin patients are the ones who sacrifice their comfort for others, who feel they owe everything to others while others do not owe them anything. They are often very capable and intelligent people who do not, however, stand up for their own rights, even if it is obvious that they are right. They are the people who seek to justify others, but do not react if others are unjust to them.
In this context, a high sense of responsibility is to be noted. Children feel overly responsible from an early age on, taking on responsibility for the whole family. They are very reliable in looking after their pets, taking care of the household, and so on. Their exaggerated sense of responsibility for the well-being of their relations and loved ones may lead to feelings of guilt, anxiety fits and eventually depressive states.
The empathic and sympathetic quality, which in some cases amounts to a sense of clairvoyance, may be so marked that they can cry for days after they have witnessed a sad incident, for example, when someone is hurt. They may also be deeply affected by violent incidents they see on the television news or in a film. This kind of sympathy and openness, together with the anxiety they feel for others, makes them similar to Phosphorus people in this respect.
In contrast, the second type of Carcinosin is totally inconsiderate, egocentric, irresponsible and selfish. These people only demand from others, give back nothing in return, and if you do them what they perceive to be an injustice, you will never hear the end of it.
Carcinosin patients may be people with strong intellectual powers, often literary people or scholars who like to learn, to read and to stimulate their brain. Severe disturbances of the intellectual faculties, however, are also to be found, especially concerning memory.
When these persons stress themselves with a lot of responsibilities, their minds become easily exhausted, start to give way and the memory is the first to fail. Poor memory is a symptom, which is prominent in the proving. The patient forgets normal everyday things (Templeton reports that one of his provers had to return three times for his spectacles), has to think deliberately, has to make an effort in order to remember. His forgetfulness makes him irritable.
The poor memory may accompany a general dullness of the mind. There is difficulty concentrating and thinking, mental inertia, a slow intellect; having to think is an effort. The brain seems constricted. A weak, tired feeling in the mind and body may come on. The individual becomes foggy, disinterested, absent-minded,; it may be described as a sense of being intoxicated or spaced out. The individual can’t absorb anything; in a conversation he is aware of hearing something, but the words do not actually register, and so he does not respond. An aversion to conversation is not surprising, then, and has actually shown up in the proving as a prominent symptom.
The weak, tired feeling passes after a short sleep, but it can also be ‘worked off’. As one prover put it: ‘If I fight that tiredness and do not have a short sleep I can after a short period settle down at my books with the same degree of energy.’ clinical evidence also shows that mental exertion as well as physical exercise often ameliorates the general and mental state.
The Carcinosin child
Precocity is a characteristic of Carcinosin that is seen frequently in children. One sees extremely early and rapid development on the physical and mental levels (including the exaggerated sense of responsibility I described above). These children may learn to walk very early and may be toilet trained at a very young age. They may have a keen intellect and learn very quickly. One could call them ‘early developers’. Their ability to talk is particularly striking. You feel you are talking with an adult; a three-and-a-half-year-old Carcinosin boy was described as ‘talking like a lawyer’ by his mother. This particularity of being able to speak in a very refined way at a very early age is a useful characteristic.
Sexual development may also set in very early and proceed quickly. Carcinosin children become sexually excitable unusually young, which may lead them into early and frequent masturbation.
On the other hand, Carcinosin children may be very slow in their development (especially mental). Problems of ‘holding their own’ at school are very frequent in Carcinosin children of different types, but in these slow-developing children the problems are also on the mental-intellectual level. They have childish behaviour and no inclination for learning. All the proving symptoms mentioned above may be found in these children: mental dullness, disinterest, difficult concentration. Carcinosin has also been used with favourable results in mentally backward or underdeveloped children. Even in children suffering from Down’s Syndrome, Carcinosin should be considered as a constitutional remedy (as well as Medorrhinum) because its action may greatly benefit them. Even though the basic chromosomal defect cannot be corrected, Foubister observed good results from such treatment. An important characteristic of Carcinosin children is their sleeplessness, which is sometimes present from their very first days onward and may be a very persistent and extreme symptom. They simply cannot fall asleep in the evening and cannot sleep until late in the night. Often they are very excited and lively in the evening. They do not want to miss what is happening around them and so do not want to go to bed. Also, in order to be able to fall asleep they frequently need the mother’s company. The child wants to sleep in its parents’ bed, or cannot sleep through the night. If the child wakes and doesn’t see its parents, he or she calls for them or goes to their bed. Being rocked may make it much easier for them to fall asleep.
There will be frequent waking, sometimes with a sudden jerk as if from a fright (similar to Sulphur children). The Carsinosin child is easily startled and wakes up trembling with anxiety. During sleep frequent involuntary jerking and twitching can come on, which might also wake them; in more advanced cases we see chronic convulsions at night. Frequent nocturnal urination may also keep them awake for a long time. Some children need to be carried around time and time again. They are unable to sleep for more than one hour at a time and become deeply exhausted and over-tired, or they awake after midnight and cannot fall asleep again for two or three hours. Night terrors have also been noted, as in one of Foubister’s cases: ‘She screams while still asleep, when wakened she answers correctly and forgets about the episode in the morning’ (This was a condition of five years’ standing. A relapse two years later also yielded to Carcinosin).
The position during sleep for children is often on the abdomen and, more specifically, on the elbows and knees as in Medorrhinum. According to Foubister, this is a valuable symptom if the child is more than one year old, because in their first year many children adopt this position and abandon it later on.
Another pathology that we frequently see in children, and that we have to be aware of, is their tendency to develop asthmatic conditions. Many times children’s asthma will require this remedy before it clears up. It is interesting to see how the lack of affection they so acutely feel leads to a pathology that is very much connected with the deprivation of love and affection.
Appearance, sexuality, and other important traits
The classic triad of Carcinosin appearance has been mentioned in the introduction: a brownish cafe-au-lait complexion, blue sclerotics and numerous black circular moles. There are some variations: the skin may be pale and transparent, giving the patient a refined and delicate appearance which is matched by his corresponding behaviour; and there may also be brown spots on the skin (lentigines). The head may be disproportionately large, particularly the forehead, which may be huge, and there may be a tendency to unusual hair growth on the face or spine. The patient’s appearance is, of course, never a mandatory component for the prescribing of a remedy and should not be expected in any particular individual case. There is a tendency to the formation of keloids, and Paschero found that Carcinosin reduced the number of keloid scars caused by plastic surgery.
In matters of sex, Carcinosin patients often have a strong passionate nature and women, especially, are attached in a passionate way to their partners. They so greatly feel the need for love and affection that they may exhibit almost a compulsion to get as much sex as they can. Sex is always more easy for them to give themselves as their shy and undemanding nature keeps them from asking for affection on an emotional level. The fact that they feel weak and defenceless and cannot express their demands makes them feel even more dependent upon their partner. They are not promiscuous, but are easily sexually aroused. Even if they feel the other person is not that interested in them, they may be strongly attached to him or her and they become very depressed after having given so much of themselves.
Carcinosin patients tend to be artistic people. They are sensitive to music, love dancing and have a marked sense of rhythm. They often love to read; even young children are fond of reading literature. Everything that cannot hurt the emotions and, at the same time, can stimulate the mind and imagination affects them deeply. Therefore, beautiful music or intensely sad stories can make them cry and when they read a story they ‘live it’. A similar trait is their love for nature. Of course we can say that ‘everybody loves nature’ and that this is neither pathology nor a symptom, but Carcinosin patients have a special craving for nature; they feel most comfortable in nature as it will never hurt or offend their emotions. The love of nature shields them against their great weakness, which is their vulnerability. They also like to travel, not so much in order to meet people, but rather in order to live ‘close to nature’.
A strong food desire is the desire for chocolate. They often exhibit a strong desire or aversion to fruit and the fat of meat. A craving for spices is also frequently encountered. (The food desires and aversions will be dealt with in detail in the ‘Stomach’ section).
Two important modalities: frequently there is a strong aggravation or an amelioration from sea air. A strong amelioration in the evening is also characteristic; their energy level is good at that time. ‘Tired in the sun, better in the evening’ and ‘tired in the morning, better in the evening’ are modalities that have often been observed in Carcinosin cases. (The proving brought out a weakness and fatigue that was worse in the late evening and a general aggravation time from 6 to7 p.m. was also elicited.)
A selection of symptoms
Contradictory and alternating states. Foubister mentions that Carcinosin has symptoms that alternate from side to side.
The proving brought out some sensations that occur in several parts of the organism: feelings of tightness and constriction, throbbing, and a twitching of various muscle groups, especially in the face (eyelids). Hui bon Hoa has confirmed that nervous tics, often of a bizarre nature, are part of the
Carcinosin picture. He gives the following examples: ‘One of my patients constantly tapped his brothers’ skulls with his fingertips; another used to gently bite the tips of children’s fingers, one after the other; he had not lost this habit at the age of 40. Sometimes Cancerinum tears at the skin round the nails.’
Some modalities that have not been mentioned in the ‘Essential Features’ section: heat and cold may both aggravate, although heat in general aggravates. Carcinosin people tend to be warm-blooded, and warm, stuffy rooms will often aggravate. ‘Less talkative, worse stuffy room, better open air’ (from the proving).
‘Worse from undressing’ is also an interesting modality that applies to cough and skin symptoms.
There is a general amelioration from a short sleep.
Usually Carcinosin patients possess great appetites and are voracious eaters. They can become very obese, really huge. Food allergies have been noted: allergic to eggs, intolerant to the smell of eggs. They have profuse, offensive axillary perspiration.
Some pathologies where Carcinosin has acted favourably are: mononucleosis infectiosa (‘glandular fever’ where it may be, according to Foubister, a near specific in epidemic cases); recurrent infections in children (also recurrent tonsillitis); cyclical vomiting; neurodermatitis.
It may be indicated in complaints of an annual periodicity, e.g. hay-fever.
Carcinosin patients can also suffer from travel sickness. Women have flushes of heat during climaxis.
Vertigo and head
Vertigo and fear of high places.
Tight, constricting feeling of the brain which may also induce or aggravate an aversion to conversation.
A sensation of thumping, mostly on the right side of the head. Thumping headache behind the eyebrows from 1-6 p.m. Throbbing pain deep inside the head, the depth being very marked.
Heaviness behind the right eye; between the temples. Dull heavy frontal ache; heaviness in the frontal region over the eyes, with a dazed and dizzy feeling; better in the open air.
Pain in the right temple as if someone were pressing there.
Frontal headaches extending into the eyes.
These head symptoms from the proving led to the use of Carcinosin in migraines, which may be accompanied by blindness and vomiting. Migraines may be followed by asthmatic complaints or may alternate with them.
Headaches in the occiput, especially in the late afternoon, lasting from 5 p.m. until bed time. Severe pressing occipital pain, radiating to the base of the brain and nape of the neck.
Headache before thunderstorms.
A history of an injury to the head (even at birth or in childhood) or a concussion of the head may point to Carcinosin, according to Foubister.
Twitching of the eyes, eyelids, brows; of the left lower lid; repeated blinking, tics. Aching behind the right eye; it is tender to pressure.
Lid margins sore and dry.
Stinging in the upper lids.
Styes that produce discharge.
Eyes feel strained and weak.
Sensation as if the ear was blocked; inflamed meatal wall.
Inflammation of the right earlobe.
Formation of boils in the ears, alternating from one ear to the other. ‘Patient had no freedom from boils for more than a week or two at a time’ (Foubister).
Chronic, long-continued coryza, or constantly recurrent colds, since childhood.
Excoriating discharge, or stuffy nose with thick discharge, like a lump in the larynx. Hay fever.
Tics; all sorts of grimaces; twitching with a sensation of tingling. Brownish colour; smooth cafe-au-lait skin.
Numerous eruptions: acne (came out in the proving), vesicular acne; eczema with scratching till it bleeds; herpes on the upper lip and nose. Eczema on the face, at the sides; she scratches until it bleeds Stiffness of the lower jaw.
Mouth ulcers at the upper gum and the side of the tongue; ulcers with foul taste. Aphthae in children. Leukoplakia spots on the gum and palate.
Papillae absent on the tip of the tongue.
Tongue constantly moving back and forth, touching the teeth; tongue becomes sore, with severe pain. Tender gums, painful on pressure, with a stiff lower jaw.
Aching at the roots of the teeth.
Early caries of the teeth.
Sore throat, worse from warmth and better from cold. The soreness has a special localisation: at the palate, as if there were a lump there. Sore throat on swallowing saliva (empty swallowing), worse in the morning, better as the day goes on, comes again at night; sore throat when not swallowing.
Air passages, respiration and cough
Keeps on clearing throat; has to do so before being able to speak.
Stammering; unable to say certain words, e.g. the number ‘eight’.
Lump sensation in the larynx.
Recurrent infections or catarrh of the respiratory tract.
Asthma: in children; dating back from a severe fright; better or worse at the seaside; worse in wet or windy weather, better cool, dry days.
Shortness of breath on running.
The proving brought out a lot of cough symptoms: cough, from a tickling in the throat, which hurts the stomach; tickling cough at night, keeps on clearing throat; worse talking, singing, laughing, being in a warm room; worse in the morning when dressing, washing or shaving; worse undressing; worse when ‘stretching the throat’ as in yawning.
‘Stomach cough’ worse in a stuffy room; irritation in the pharynx, larynx, and thyroid aggravated on leaving an area of cold air. Stomach cough while talking; throat clogs up then is cleared by coughing.
Cough may be worse from cold air or worse indoors, but especially on the change from cold to warm or warm to cold. Prolonged whooping cough or chronic pneumonia; in infants; history of such conditions in early childhood. Stabbing pain behind the sternum.
Sensation as if heart tight and constricted, as if one wants to sigh.
Palpitation from 2 to 6 p.m., ‘can feel the heart and hear it when lying down’. Stitching heart pain on standing.
The appetite may be voracious. The patient eats everything indiscriminately and mixed together. More often, however, there are very marked food desires and aversions, with the peculiarity that one kind of food is desired at one time, and at another time there is a definite aversion to the same kind of food (‘contradictory and alternating states’).
Marked desires may be for: chocolate and other sweets, including ice-cream, and even pure sugar (Paschero reports that children only wanted to eat sugar); fat and fat of meat, ham, smoked bacon, butter, sausage; raw potatoes; spicy foods, salt; soup; sweet and sour; fruit, sour apples; cocoa; cold drinks, especially milk; eggs.
Marked aversions: to fruit; to eggs, even to the smell of eggs; meat, fat, butter; potatoes; milk; salts; sweets. Intolerance for honey, for milk, for onions; allergy to eggs; the odour of mustard disgusts.
Very thirsty, for large quantities, or very little thirst.
Nausea from traveling by bus or car; travel sickness.
Eructation tasting of vomit.
When anxiety or anticipation are felt in the pit of the stomach or epigastrium, Carcinosin may be indicated, especially (according to Foubister) Cancerinum Adeno-Stom.
Stomach pain from coughing.
Peptic ulcers, duodenal ulcers; in the individual or family history.
Abdomen and rectum
The provings elicited a constant feeling as if one were constricted, in the stomach, abdomen and rectum. This constricting pain was relieved by pressure, bending and hot drinks.
Indigestion, accumulation of gas in the stomach and bowel.
Pain low down in the abdomen with flatus.
Obstinate constipation. Constipation with heavy pain above the umbilicus; the pain comes slowly and goes slowly, worse from 4 to 6 p.m.
Constipation with very little desire to pass stool (but much flatus). Stool very hard and dry, difficult and painful to pass. Stool remains for a long time in the rectum.
Much flatulence in new-born babies; nappy rash (dermatitis).
Prolapsus; from mental stress through being treated unfairly at work; in children. Fistula ani; fissures and painful cracks of the anal-rectal area.
Chronic or recurrent infections. Cystitis; nephritis; pyelonephritis. Urine containing granular casts.
Involuntary urination. Constant leaking of small amounts of urine. Or: enuresis nocturna which is still present at an age of 12 or 14 years (Kokelenberg).
Dysmenorrhoea. First day of menses extremely painful, she has to bend over double and sweats from the pain. Extreme pressure in the lower back with menses, resembling labour, sometimes keeping her awake at night. Cramping and dragging-down pain extending down the thighs. Nausea and vomiting at the beginning of menses.
Swelling and pain in the mammae before menses, beginning in mid-cycle.
Premenstrual Syndrome. Bloating, anxious, fearful.
Recurrent ovarian cysts, right-sided, causing numbing pain down the thigh. Formation of ovarian cysts in connection with acne and furuncles discharging thick matter like butter. Right-sided ovarian pain.
Fibroid tumours in uterus; endometriosis.
Flatus from the vagina.
Recurrent pseudo-pregnancy with enlarged abdomen and milk in the breasts. Chronic mastitis.
Neck and back
Pain on the right side of the neck on turning the head to the right.
Pain at the inner angle of the left scapula.
Twitches in the back; with tingling.
Coldness of the extremities, worse from a draught of air.
Aching arms and legs, acute coldness of the hands and feet; aching worse from cold and sitting still. The hands may go white and blue.
Twitching in the muscles of the thighs and arms.
Aching at the back of the thighs, with numbness and tingling of the arms and legs if he crosses or bends them.
Aching ‘like a toothache’ (from the proving) in shoulder muscles, ameliorated by warmth and movement.
Pain in the hips, right and left, worse for motion, worse if weight is off the legs.
General weak tired feeling, mostly in the legs, in late evening; better if kept active and does not rest; better also after a short sleep.
Rheumatic pain in the legs, ameliorated by warmth and gentle movement, whereas quick movement aggravates. Weakness of the ankles.
Hangnails; tears or chews at the cuticles.
Obstinate sleeplessness, especially in children. Takes a long time to fall asleep. Tired, but mind much too active to fall asleep, lies awake for a long time, often for most of the night.
Sleep restless, disturbed; light sleep, frequent waking. Waking at 4 a.m. and cannot fall asleep again.
General twitching of muscles during sleep; wakes up twitching; wakes up with a jerk, as from fright.
Tired when he wakes up in the morning, even if his sleep was good; unrefreshing sleep.
Aside from the knee-elbow position with his head pressed into the pillow (compare Medorrhinum), other sleep positions have also been observed: he sleeps on his back, hands above his head, or he can only sleep on his left side.
Dreams: of looking for someone and failing to find them; of working; of traveling; of drifting; of murder; anxious dreams (e.g. worried about having done something incorrectly at work); nightmares; of vampires; exhausting dreams; exciting dreams.
Many pigmented naevi, black and circular or brown (moles, lentigines).
The proving brought on a return of an old eczema (not present since childhood), apparently a seborrhoeal irritation between the shoulders and on the sternum, which was aggravated on undressing.
Eczema with itching; must scratch until it bleeds; eczema worse after milk; neurodermatitis with rough and dry skin. Wounds and ulcers are slow to heal.
Tendency to the formation of boils.
Warts have repeatedly been cured by Carcinosin: on the lips; on the abdominal skin; on the back of the hand; on the fingers; adjacent to the finger nails; on the soles of the feet.
Carcinosin may precede or follow any remedy. Foubister has compiled a list of complementary remedies: Alum., Ars. and Ars-i., Bell-p., Calc. and Phos., Graph., Lach., Lyc., Med., Nat-m. and Nat-s., Nit-ac., Op., Psor., Puls., Sep., Staph., Sulph., Syph., Thuj., and Tub. He says that ‘Candidates for Carcinosin in other respects had frequently been helped by one or more of these remedies’, and he suggests considering Carcinosin if a patient doesn’t respond to a well-selected remedy if the remedy is included in his list, or if two or more of them are strongly partially indicated, but neither of them adequately covers the case.
I suspect that this idea has not been sufficiently confirmed, yet I have observed that sometimes Carcinosin will act to ‘open up’ a case (without curing the condition) so that the next indicated remedy can be recognised and prescribed and will be able to act, even though it is possible that such a remedy was given before and did not act.