Tag Archive | "sexuality and cancer"

Cancer and Present-Day Human Sexual Functioning: What is the Connection? Part Two


AUTHOR’S NOTE

It will likely come as a shock to many to learn that, in the US today, 1 in 3 women will develop cancer in their lifetime, with 1 in 8 women suffering from breast cancer. And that 1 in 2 men will develop cancer in their lifetime, with 1 in 8 getting prostate cancer.

In 2024, there will be an estimated 1,958,310 new cancer cases in the US (Males 1,010,310; Females 948,000) And there will be an estimated 609,820 new cancer deaths (Males 322,080; Females 287,740) It is predicted that there will be 300,590 new cases of breast cancer (Males 2,800; Females 297,790) and 43,700 breast cancer deaths (Males 530; Females 43,170).

About 414,350 new cases will involve the genital system (Males 299,540; Females 114,810) with new deaths from these cancers reaching 69,660 (Males 35,640; Females 34,020). There are expected to be 288,300 new cases of prostate cancer and 34,700 deaths from that disease in 2024.

It is a significant but little noted fact that about 30% of cancer in men and 40% of cancer in women involves the genital system or breast. This high percentage is much the same today as it was 20 years ago when the following two-part article was written. In light of these facts, the articles below remain relevant and require attention. They are not being published for their histortical interest. Rather, the unanswered questions that are raised in them deserve answers more than ever, answers that can only come from medical research.

“Reich’s theory that cancer is not primarily a tumor that arises mysteriously in an otherwise healthy organism but a systemic disease due to chronic sexual starvation will startle the average person who tends to view a disturbance of sexuality as distressing but not pathogenic. It will also enrage many who, because of moral prejudice, find such a connection offensive and untenable.”
—Chester M. Raphael, MD in his Foreword to The Cancer Biopathy by Wilhelm Reich.

In part one of this article, the 2003 annual statistics published by the American Cancer Society (ACS) were reviewed. The data compiled by the ACS reveal two extremely important facts:

1. Out of 1,334,100 new cases of cancer that will occur in 2003, fully 526,500 will be cancers of the genital system and of the breast; and

2. Out of 556,500 expected cancer deaths, an estimated 96,400 will be from cancers of the genital system and breast

In other words, nearly 40% of all new cancer cases in the United States in 2003 involved either the genital system or the breast in American men and women. And nearly 20% of all cancer deaths were caused by cancers of the breast or genital systems.

Why does cancer occur so frequently in these parts of the body? How is present-day human sexual functioning connected with the high incidence of morbidity and mortality from cancer that our society now experiences?

This article will look at the theory of the origin and nature of cancer put forward by the pioneering physician-scientist Wilhelm Reich in his 1948 book, The Cancer Biopathy. Cancer is one example of a type of disease Reich referred to as a “biopathy.” He wrote, “The term biopathies refers to all disease processes caused by a basic dysfunction of the autonomic life apparatus. Once started, this dysfunction can manifest itself in a variety of symptomatic disease processes.”

For Reich, the biopathic process can lead to cancer in some people, to cardiovascular disease in others, and to catatonic or paranoid schizophrenia in still others. He included some cases of angina pectoris, asthma, epilepsy, anxiety neurosis, multiple sclerosis, chorea and chronic alcoholism as other examples of biopathic disease. The term “biopathy” was used by Reich to describe a patient’s condition only when “it is definite that the disease process begins with a disturbance of pulsation, no matter what secondary disease pattern results.”

To the mechanistic mind, it probably seems inconceivable that such different diseases can be related. What could be the common denominator of all of these diverse conditions? For Reich, it is “a disturbance of the natural function of pulsation in the total organism.” In his view, the organism, in whole and in part, oscillates betweenexpansion and contraction, with biological pulsation being indicative of healthy functioning. The heartbeat is a good example of this biological activity.

Many healing traditions from around the world-such as Ayurveda or Traditional Chinese Medicine-emphasize “balance” as integral to health. These and other healing traditions also refer to “energy” in the body. All of the ancient traditions of medicine, and many of the more recent approaches, such as homeopathy, recognize the existence of a life energy or life force in the organism. And all of these healing techniques emphasize the importance of the movement of the energy in the body for maintaining wellness and curing disease. The movement of energy in the body is believed to bring about a state of “energy balance.” The free movement of this vital energy is the foundation of good health. However, in these traditions, “energy” remains a concept, premise or principle, whether it be spiritual or philosophical.

For Reich, in contrast, the life energy (which he called orgone) is a physical energy that is demonstrable, measurable and usable. (See The Cancer Biopathy, Chapter 4, “The Objective Demonstration of Orgone Energy.”) He, too, recognized that a state of “energy balance” is essential to health. But for him, that “energy balance” comes about through the sexual act. It is the biophysical function of the orgasm to discharge the bioenergy that builds up in the body. Energy builds up in the body, is discharged through the orgasm, keeping the body in “balance.” Sexual dysfunction leads to being “out of balance.” And it can cause, not only emotional distress, but also, physical disease.

To Reich, sexual dysfunction, and the concomitant biological stasis of energy, is the single common denominator underlying the many manifestations of cancer. But the crucial relationship between impaired sexual functioning and energy stasis with diseases such as cancer are not addressed in most other healing traditions. For example, I have attended many excellent seminars on complementary approaches to health, and on integrating complementary and conventional approaches to cancer, and have never heard a single mention of the role of sexual function and dysfunction in health and disease. This was true whether the conference lasted for one-day or for one week.

Reich’s thesis concerning cancer was stated clearly and succinctly in The Cancer Biopathy, “Sexual stasis represents a functional disturbance of biological pulsation. Sexual excitation is a primal function of the living plasma system.The sexual function is demonstrably the productive life function per se. A chronic disturbance of this function must of necessity coincide with a biopathy.”

According to Reich, this disturbance is felt in two principal ways: (1) in an indirect manner as an emotional disturbance (i.e., neurosis or psychosis) or (2) directly as a functional organic disturbance (i.e., a physical disease). In either case, Reich wrote, “The central mechanism of a biopathy is a disturbance in the discharge of biosexual excitation.” Physical, chemical and emotional processes are all at play in biopathic conditions. Emotional factors are involved as well.

Reich’s research focused on elucidating the true nature of the energy expressed in the orgasm. His findings and conclusions are presented in The Discovery of the Orgone: Vol. 1, The Function of the Orgasm and Vol. 2, The Cancer Biopathy. To comprehend Reich’s theory of cancer, it is necessary to understand his findings concerning orgone energy. There are two major obstacles in the way to achieving this: (1) the mechanistic understanding of disease and (2) the incapacity of the average man and woman to perceive the movement of the orgone energy in his or her body.

Reich did not claim that a cure to cancer had been found. “I do not publish this book without serious concern,” he wrote, “mainly that many readers of our literature will now assume that a cure for cancer has been found. This is not at all the case.” In fact, he came to understand that prevention, not cure, is the ultimate solution to cancer. As Dr. Raphael wrote, “The means to this solution are to be found primarily in the social realm, for it is our repressive social order that creates the sexual misery and the resulting stagnation of biological energy from which cancer originates.” It is more obvious than ever that humanity is suffering severely from sexual dysfunction. And cancer incidence and mortality increase dramatically with each passing year.

In the past, Reich’s contribution to an understanding of cancer has been received with either blind rejection or silence. No major attempt has been made over the past 55-60 years to examine Reich’s functional theory of the origin and development of cancer and other biopathic diseases, including treatment possibilities and the potential for disease prevention.

Today, the nature of cancer remains a mystery. Cancer treatment—whether conventional, complementary or integrative—is still largely symptomatic with unpredictable results. Reich remains ignored by the overwhelming majority of conventional, complementary and integrative physicians and health practitioners. This brief two-part article barely skims the surface of Reich’s contribution in this area, providing only an inkling of the wealth of information contained in his book. It is time that fresh, open-minded scrutiny be given to the valuable insights offered by Reich in The Cancer Biopathy. It is needed more than ever.

Disclaimer: This article is copyrighted material that was originally published on 2004 Journal of the Mindshift Institute

Posted in Biopathies & Physical Orgone TherapyComments (2)

Cancer and Present-Day Human Sexual Functioning: What is the Connection? Part One


AUTHOR’S NOTE

It will likely come as a shock to many to learn that, in the US today, 1 in 3 women will develop cancer in their lifetime, with 1 in 8 women suffering from breast cancer. And that 1 in 2 men will develop cancer in their lifetime, with 1 in 8 getting prostate cancer.

In 2024, there will be an estimated 1,958,310 new cancer cases in the US (Males 1,010,310; Females 948,000) And there will be an estimated 609,820 new cancer deaths (Males 322,080; Females 287,740) It is predicted that there will be 300,590 new cases of breast cancer (Males 2,800; Females 297,790) and 43,700 breast cancer deaths (Males 530; Females 43,170).

About 414,350 new cases will involve the genital system (Males 299,540; Females 114,810) with new deaths from these cancers reaching 69,660 (Males 35,640; Females 34,020). There are expected to be 288,300 new cases of prostate cancer and 34,700 deaths from that disease in 2024.

It is a significant but little noted fact that about 30% of cancer in men and 40% of cancer in women involves the genital system or breast. This high percentage is much the same today as it was 20 years ago when the following two-part article was written. In light of these facts, the articles below remain relevant and require attention. They are not being published for their histortical interest. Rather, the unanswered questions that are raised in them deserve answers more than ever, answers that can only come from medical research.

Perhaps the very title of this article is puzzling to many readers. What does the question even mean, many may wonder. “What connection between human sexual functioning and cancer?” some may ask.

In 1999, researchers in the United States reported that between 30-40 percent of American men and women suffered from such severe sexual dysfunction that they had no sexual life and did not desire one. Are there pathological physical consequences to this disturbance of a basic biological function as well as emotional and psychological ones?

Let’s look at the American Cancer Society’s (ACS) 2003 annual cancer statistics, which were published in the January/February 2003 issue of the Society’s publication, Ca-A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, to get a clear picture of cancer incidence and mortality involving the breast and genital system in men and women.

The ACS estimates that in 2003, there will be about 1,334,100 new cancer cases in men and women in the United States. The breakdown by gender is 675,300 new cancer cases among men and 658,800 among women.

The ACS also estimates that there will be 556,500 deaths from cancer in the United States in 2003, of which 285,900 will occur in men and 270,600 in women.

There will be an estimated 212,600 new cases of breast cancer in 2003 (211,300 in women and 1,300 in men) and 313,600 estimated cases of cancers of the genital system (229,000 in men; 83,700 in women).

According to the ACS, 39,800 women will die from breast cancer in 2003 (as will 400 men). A total of 56,300 Americans will die from cancer of the genital system (29,500 men and 26,800 women).

The annual statistics compiled by the ACS reveal two extremely important facts:

1. Out of 1,334,100 new cases of cancer that will occur in 2003, fully 526,500 will be cancers of the genital system and of the breast; and

2. Out of 556,500 expected cancer deaths, an estimated 96,400 will be from cancers of the genital system and breast

In other words, nearly 40% of all new cancer cases in the United States in 2003 will involve either the genital system or the breast in American men and women. And nearly 20% of all cancer deaths will be caused by cancers of the breast or genital systems.

There is no medical research into why this is happening. To me this is astounding, and has been for over one quarter of a century.

I first noticed this correlation in 1977 when I worked for the American Cancer Society on its clinical journal Ca-A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. The percentage of new cancer cases and cancer deaths from these types of cancer has held relatively steady over the last 25 years, no matter what statistical methods the ACS was using at any given time.

I pointed out this statistical finding to fellow editors, physicians, and colleagues in other departments at the ACS. To my great surprise, I discovered that it meant little or nothing to them.

At the time, I sent query letters to editors at professional medical publications, as well as magazines for the public that covered health issues, suggesting that I write an article on the substantial cancer incidence and mortality from breast and genital system cancers and the lack of research into this phenomenon. To my even greater surprise, there was no interest whatsoever in publishing an article on these statistical correlations and the lack of investigation into it.

Interestingly, after I would inform the editors of the large percentage of cancers occurring at these sites, and explain that there was no research into why this was happening, editor after editor would ask, “Where’s the story?” To which I would reply, “The high rates of new cancer cases, the high death rates from the cancers, and the lack of investigation into it — that’s the story!”

During the 1980s and 1990s, I continued to attempt to interest editors, to no avail. Today’s journalists show no more interest. In March 2003, I had an opportunity to discuss this subject with the producer of a major television news show. Even though this intelligent, savvy producer has had cancer, no interest was expressed in reporting the statistical facts or investigating the subject more deeply.

Imagine the uproar and outrage if it were discovered that 40% of new cancers and 20% of cancer deaths each year occurred in the brain or liver or kidneys but that the reasons for this were not being sought. It would not be tolerated by the public or the mass media.

But 525,600 new cancers cases and 96,400 cancer deaths in 2003 alone apparently are not of sufficient interest. Neither is there a desire to explore why there is a complete lack of investigation into the causes of this phenomenon.

The standard responses that “cancer is not one disease, but hundreds of diseases” or “the causes of cancer are multifactorial” or even a blanket response of “there is no connection” do not suffice. Why? Because no research has been done to support such an “explanation.”

So the question stands, “What is the connection between the development of, and death from, cancer of the genital system and of the breast in women and men and present-day human sexual functioning?”

A subsequent article will explore one attempt to answer that question.

Disclaimer: This article is copyrighted material that was originally published on 2003 Journal of the Mindshift Institute

Posted in Biopathies & Physical Orgone TherapyComments (0)


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