Does colon cancer cause back pain? Will homeopathic remedies help?

2 answers | Last updated: Nov 24, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

Why is my dad, who has colon cancer, having terrible back and stomach pain? He had temporary colostomy operation more than 3 years ago along with chemo and radio therapies. He was on stage 3 when operated on. At the present time he's refusing to take chemotherapy or radiotherapy since he doesnt want to go through the after effects to his body. Does moving into homeopedic medicine give any relief?

Expert Answers

Andrew Putnam, M.D. is a Palliative Care physician at Smilow Cancer Center at Yale New Haven Hospital and Yale University.

Unfortunately, colon cancer frequently causes back pain and pain in various parts of the abdomen.  There certainly could be other causes but asking your dad's oncologist if the pain is due to the cancer is reasonable so that the pain can be treated. 

I am assuming that you meant homeopathic doses of chemotherapy, which are defined as very low doses when the main goal is prevention of side effects rather than trying to fight the cancer.  Frequently homeopathic doses do little against the cancer but they are meant not to cause harm and still have some hope of fighting the cancer.

Your father could do homeopathic doses depending on how his doctor feels.  He or she may have reasons for not giving them. Other possibilities might be a clinical trial of a new drug if he is eligible.  You were clear however, that your dad does not want his cancer to be aggressively treated because of the side effects. The remaining choices would then be palliative care to treat his symptoms possibly as part of hospice.

Community Answers

Gobacktosleep answered...

The answer to homeopathy is that it's no more effective than distilled water at treating anything. By definition, the dilution of the active ingredient are such that there may be only a single molecule of the active ingredient/medication in an olympic-sized swimming pool full of water.

If your doctor feels that using homeopathic remedies is appropriate, fire him, get another doctor, and report him to the state medical board. These are not just unproven treatments, but they've been proven to be useless "treatments".

The way it does harm is that it takes money from those who are desperate for some solution or hope - money which is needed for other things which are helpful to the person or their family.

Palliative care, and other psycho-social care which is given through a hospice is a better idea, although your doctor will have to deem that he only has 6 months or less to live to be enrolled in a hospice.