Why is Cancer Incurable

Dr. Kent’s observation on cancer, tuberculosis, diabetes, Bright’s disease, and many organic conditions of the body that how to take the case in such diseases and how to prescribe the remedy in such difficult cases. He further states that take the whole history of the patient since childhood, not prescribe on the current symptom picture because this picture is the end result of the previous childhood actions have been forgotten…

In other words: What must be discovered, to lead to the cure of cancer? When a case has been cured, why was it possible when other cases, and most cases, have resulted in failure?

It is true that in some cases there are hold-over symptoms enough to lead to the remedy, but in most cases there is nothing discoverable but the malignant growth and its associated features of hardness, stinging pains, ulceration, enlarged glands and the tendency to involve the surrounding parts in its own development. A neophyte could say that such a growth is malignant, without the aid of a microscope. Then, in most cases, the paucity of symptoms is the present state of the situation. If the child’s mental symptoms could be fully ascertained, and the symptoms from the childhood to adult age, something might be done. Cancer generally comes on in after life, when childhood actions have been forgotten. The patient does not know her own childhood mental state, the parents may be dead, sisters and brothers may describe the antics of the child.

Many of our patients come to us with a history of old school drugging from childhood; every childhood morbid condition has been suppressed; eruptions have been suppressed; symptoms have been changed by crude drugs; no clear-cut representation of the constitution has been permitted to evolve. We do not know whether the child was obstinate, hateful, ungovernable, hysterical, violent, slow in school work, or the opposite; we can learn only the commonest features of puberty, which is a most important time to investigate in all women. If the symptoms that have appeared from birth to the present date are undiscovered, it is no wonder that cancer is incurable.

To cure any condition we must base the prescription on the totality of the signs and, symptoms and not on the pathology. The cancer is the ultimate. The symptoms from the first are the outward image of the patient. If they have been suppressed or changed by drugs that are not homoeopathic, there is nothing left for the homoeopath to do, and the surgeon can do no better. Palliation and prolonging life are not curing.

“All curable diseases make themselves known to the intelligent physician in signs and symptoms.” (Hahnemann.) Pathological conditions, as also the patient, are incurable when there are no signs and symptoms, and so long as there are no signs and symptoms these remain incurable. In proportion as the pathology progresses the signs and symptoms decrease. This is marked in cancer, in tuberculosis, in diabetes, in Bright’s disease, and in all of the organic conditions of the body. In some instances, the remedy that was once indicated by mental and physical symptoms will cure even in moderately advanced pathological conditions; again, such a remedy will soon reveal that the patient has been sick too long and the pathology has progressed too far, and the reaction is so feeble that he sinks rapidly and the remedy must be antidoted.

I remember a patient who had long suffered from tuberculosis of the lungs; cavities were present; several hemorrhages had occurred; the mental and physical symptoms had called for Phosphorus from the early history, and even at the time he came this remedy fitted the symptoms. PHOSPHORUS was given in high potency, as I had not then learned better, and there followed a high fever, involuntary diarrhoea, and sinking. It was apparent that this patient would soon die, but ARSENICUM antidoted the over-action of Phosphorus and the patient lived several months. The patient must have the reactive ability when the similar remedy is administered, or become worse after such a remedy than before.

Therefore, it is a homoeopathic remedy when the patient can react from it, otherwise it is only a similar agent and not a remedy. When a similar remedy is not a homoeopathic remedy is quite a new problem to many good thinkers. It is never such when the patient lacks that reaction which is always depended on and so promptly noticed in all curable cases. Some patients have lost this reaction when there is no visible or discoverable organic disease. This is what comes to the aged who die of senile debility and it may be said, as a fact, that the deceased had no disease.

We often see, in the last days of the aged, a quick response after the remedy, but it holds only a few hours and he sinks to his final rest. Quite similar is this lack of reaction in some feeble, young, and middle-aged people. Whether it comes from constitutional debility or pathological conditions, the lack of vital reaction is the same.

When we think of the curability of cancer or tuberculosis, this is the question to be considered. We can judge the measure of his reaction by watching the symptoms after the administration of the remedy. No two patients react the same. It is generally safe to conclude that so long as signs and symptoms are present good vital reaction continues, but after the signs and symptoms have departed, and pathology has taken their place, it is impossible to predict what the quality of his reaction may be, until the patient has been tested by the similar agent. When this is known, it will be easy to understand why old symptoms return, in chronic cases after the administration of the similar remedy. Patients having only feeble reaction are only palliated, while those of strong reaction go through all their past symptoms in the reverse order of their appearance.

In patients with cancer or tuberculosis, we may be quite certain of their ultimate recovery, if old symptoms return after administration of the remedy. These patients seldom have the vital reaction strong enough to develop former symptoms, hence they are incurable.

To be able to perceive the remedy from the signs and symptoms in the present or history is one item of cure, but another and quite different item is the vital reaction of the patient. To find a remedy that will restore his lost vital reaction is thus far impossible. Even the surgeon’s knife has been a failure.


A three-year old boy was brought to my office to be treated for adenoids. There was a history of several deaths from tuberculosis on the father’s side. After long and earnest questioning, the mother continued to conceal the boy’s mental state. She seemed ashamed to reveal his mental symptoms. It came to my mind to test his condition with Tuberculinum bovinum, as he had such a history of disorder, and I had many times seen this remedy cure adenoids that followed such a history. I then forcibly put a powder of the remedy on the child’s tongue, after a struggle. He refused to put out the tongue or open the mouth. The mother attempted to persuade him to open his mouth; then the time came for the boy to exhibit himself.

He was violently angry, eyes became glassy, appeared as if he would have a convulsion, attempted to spill the pellets out, turned upon his mother and said, “I will kill You, when I get home I will kill you.” He frothed at the mouth. Then the mother was persuaded to relate the child’s disposition and mental symptoms. She said that they were unable to govern him or persuade him to do anything he did not want to do. He would fly into a fit of rage and threaten to kill his father or mother, and would froth at the mouth whenever they attempted to force him to obey a command.

While the child was in my office the mother forced him to open his mouth, and the dose of Tuberc, 10m was put on the tongue. Four weeks later another dose of the 10m was given and later the 50m was given. Within a month the child began to change and became a perfectly gentle and orderly child. The adenoids had entirely gone in three months. The child is a most promising boy, now ten years old. No other remedy was required.

After observing a large number of consumptives from the beginning to the ending, I am unable to say that the corresponding mental relation is fixed and positive.

The mind is always out of balance in children who are constitutionally affected from inheritance. Sometimes the will is most disturbed and sometimes the understanding.

When the lungs, kidneys and intestines are the seat of the localized disease, the understanding is predominantly disturbed. When the liver is the seat of the localized disease, the will symptoms are most prominent in early history.

All cases present early mental symptoms, and there is always a trail of symptoms, mental and nervous, until the development of tuberculosis is well established; then the mental symptoms disappear, and in most cases there has been an absence of mental symptoms for a period before the beginning of the deposits. This leads to the opinion that there is in nearly all cases a predisposition to tuberculosis, and it is this predisposition that is inherited. If this is absent, protection is quite positive.

The predisposition is marked in many cases from birth to the onset of the localized disease or ultimates. We should not wait for the onset of the pathology, but all cases should be prevented by study and tests. If parents were aware of the possibility of testing and absolute prevention, they would aid toward the final closing out of the “white plague.”


The nosode tendency is becoming altogether too extravagant. I have known Medorrhinum to be given and fail where Thuja would have cured promptly, because the symptoms were predominantly Thuja and not Medorrhinum. I have known Psorinum to be given because the case was supposed to be due to psora, where Sulphur was well indicated. It is a great error to prescribe for the miasm instead of the totality of the symptoms.

If the symptoms are very scanty and the remedy is, doubtful and the patient has a history of gonorrhoea, his symptoms having come on since, it is a hopeful experiment to give Medorrhinum. In similar manner, if there ii a history of syphilis with a paucity of symptoms, it is a good experiment to give Syphilinum. Most certainly we must rise above miasmatic prescribing, yet the miasm should be held in view, and the remedies should be held in view, and the remedies that fit the symptoms should also be deep enough to cure the corresponding miasm.

James Tyler Kent
James Tyler Kent (1849–1916) was an American physician. Prior to his involvement with homeopathy, Kent had practiced conventional medicine in St. Louis, Missouri. He discovered and "converted" to homeopathy as a result of his wife's recovery from a serious ailment using homeopathic methods.
In 1881, Kent accepted a position as professor of anatomy at the Homeopathic College of Missouri, an institution with which he remained affiliated until 1888. In 1890, Kent moved to Pennsylvania to take a position as Dean of Professors at the Post-Graduate Homeopathic Medical School of Philadelphia. In 1897 Kent published his magnum opus, Repertory of the Homœopathic Materia Medica. Kent moved to Chicago in 1903, where he taught at Hahnemann Medical College.