Modern medicine often fails to cure, resorting to treatments for symptoms, instead of curing illness, advising patients to ‘learn to live with’ their diseases. What is the theory of cure? There is no theory of cure in modern medicine. How can we tell which illnesses are curable, and which are incurable? Modern medicine, for all its technical proficiency, has no answer. But there is a simple answer.
“Every illness can be cured.” – The Healthicine Creed. That doesn’t mean we can cure every instance of an illness, but every illness has the potential to be cured. Can this be true? Can we make it true?
Note: An updated post on the Theory of Cures can be seen here
First of all, we need to distinguish clearly between an illness and a disease. A disease is a name given to a collection of similar illnesses. An illness is what the patient has. Every patient is an individual, and so is every illness. We can cure an illness – a specific case, but we should not expect to cure any disease.
We should also separate medical conditions, from diseases. Pregnancy is a ‘medical condition’ but it is not a ‘disease’. A gunshot wound is a medical condition, it is not a disease. An amputated leg is a medical condition, a disability, but it is not a disease.
What is a an illness?
Every illness has a cause, or causes. That’s obvious. A disease, on the other hand, is not a specific case – and has contributing factors, but no specific causes. Every illness also has a progression. It gets worse, sometimes it gets better. Many illnesses wax and wane. Some disappear.
What is a cure? A cure is when the cause is removed, or goes away, and the progression stops.
Today, there are many strange definitions of ‘cure’. The word cure is often defined differently depending on the disease. Cancers are often classed as ‘cured’ if the patient survives treatment, but remission might be just around the corner. Cure means little with cancer, and it usually means simply that the disease is below the current threshold of detection.
Medical experts claim there is no ‘cure’ for the common cold, but in fact, it goes away without much trouble in most cases. Perhaps because no doctor ‘gets credit’, it is not counted as a ‘cure’. The body, the healthy body, cures itself. Another cold might occur, but it’s not like ‘the same cancer’ reappearing.
The easiest illnesses to cure with medicine are those cured by antibiotics and similar medicines. Many illnesses can be cured without medicine at all. All nutrient deficiency illnesses, like scurvy, and beri beri, are cured with the missing nutrients, although some damage caused by the illness might become a permanent disability. Many toxic nutrient diseases are cured by removing the offending toxin, but again some damage might be a permanent disability.
Every illness has a cause. When the causes are removed, the progression of the illness stops. Sometimes, the patient is left with permanent damage, a permanent disability resulting from the illness. What is left is not ‘the illness’ it is a result of the illness.
Can we cure every illness? If we can remove the cause, and stop the progression, we can cure any illness. Are there any illnesses where we cannot remove the cause, if we know the cause, and stop the progression? Are there any incurable diseases?
An illness is incurable when the cause cannot be removed and the progression cannot be stopped. If there is some hope that we can find the cause, and remove the cause, the illness might be ‘curable’. If there is some hope that we can stop the progression, even if we cannot remove the cause, the illness can be cured. As always, the patient might have residual damage – but this is different from the illness.
When the progression of the illness is stopped, but there is permanent damage to the patient, the damage is no longer an illness – it is a handicap, or a disability, resulting from the illness, even though the illness has been cured. If you have an infection in your arm, and the doctor cuts off your arm to stop the progression – and you live, you don’t still have the infection – but you do have the resulting disability.
Clearly many illnesses can be cured. But there is no certainty that any illnesses are ‘incurable’. We can always say that maybe, someday, a cure will be found. Of course an individual person’s illness might not be curable within their lifetime, it might even shorten or end their life. But that does not mean the illness is incurable. How can we determine if an illness is incurable?
Let’s take a look at the top causes of death in the USA in 2013: Heart disease, Cancer, Chronic lower respiratory diseases, Accidents (unintentional injuries), Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases), Alzheimer’s disease, Diabetes, Influenza and Pneumonia, Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis, Intentional self-harm (suicide). Putting aside accidents and suicide, which of those are diseases that we believe are considered incurable today? Influenza tends to cure itself. Pneumonia sometimes goes away by itself, or is cured by our natural defenses, and is often curable with antibiotics. Heart disease, chronic lower respiratory diseases, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, are often classed as ‘incurable’ with modern medicines. Does this mean they are incurable. Perhaps it only means they cannot be cured with medicines, or only that they cannot be cured with today’s medicines. We claim that cancer is curable, and seem to be searching for a ‘cure’, but no one actually tries to cure cancer, instead we do our best to kill it.
Let’s look at diabetes, actually a wide collection of diseases, many of which are well known to be curable. It might be possible to recover your insulin production, unless the handicap is so severe that all of your islet cells are dead. If they are all dead, it might be possible to cure diabetes by transplantation although some might argue this does not ‘cure’ the illness. For example, if a patient loses an arm, and we sew on someone else’s arm – is the patient ‘cured’. No. The patient had a disability or handicap, and that disability was repaired with surgery. The same could be said of a patient who loses all of their insulin producing cells and receives a transplant. Once all of the insulin cells are dead, the diabetes is no longer just an illness, it is also a handicap or a disability, that cannot be recovered, healed or cured without external intervention.
Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis, are similarly a collection of diseases of the kidneys. Like diabetes, if the illness is not severe, it might be cured. But if the patient loses their kidneys, the illness becomes a disability. Actually the disability arises before the kidneys are completely gone. A kidney transplant can help, but it does not ‘cure’ the illness.
Once an illness causes damage that it cannot be cured, then by definition, that damage is a disability, or a ‘handicap’ not a disease. Current medical theories tend to use the same names for “diabetes that might be curable” and “diabetes that has progressed to a disability”. This enforces the myth that ‘diabetes is incurable’ and encourages patients, doctors and scientists to ‘learn to live with diabetes’.
We need to define all ‘incurable diseases’ as disabilities. If you are missing an arm, it’s incurable. If your kidney is damaged so badly that it cannot function, you don’t just have ‘kidney disease’, you have a renal disability. Is it possible to ‘cure’ a disability? No.
This might seem a subtle distinction, but it is an important distinction if we are searching for a cure. We expect to cure illnesses. We believe we can cure every type of illness, someday, but we don’t expect to ‘cure’ disabilities.
It is interesting to note that many medical organizations have come to a similar conclusion, although their logic is not complete. The American Diabetes Association has a tab on their website named “Living with Diabetes”. Diabetes is classed as a disability. We don’t need to learn to live with disease, we need to learn to live with disabilities. The Diabetes Association makes the mistake of suggesting that all cases of diabetes are incurable, and this results in a loss of hope. However, and perhaps very important, a diabetes that is ‘incurable’ is a more powerful fundraiser. A diabetes that can be cured does not need the American Diabetes Association – it needs the cure. Diabetes is a complex group of possibly progressive illnesses, some of which are curable, some of which progress to the point where they are no longer curable. Once diabetes reaches the stage of ‘incurable’, it is no longer an illness, it is a disability.
The Arthritis Foundation makes the same error, saying, on their webpage “The Arthritis Foundation helps people who already have arthritis to live better with arthritis by…”. Arthritis too, is classed not as an illness that might be cured, but as a disability. Arthritis is also a progressive illness. If the cause is identified and removed, the progression stops. What remains is the damage caused by the illness. Arthritis is only incurable if it is not possible to remove the cause, not possible to stop the progression.
There are illness where it is not possible to remove the cause. One of the most clear cases is mesothelioma caused by asbestos. It is, for all practical purposes, impossible to remove the asbestos, the cause. But that does not make it impossible to stop the progression of the disease. We just don’t know how (or do we?). If we don’t remove the asbestos, but we stop the progression – some might argue that the cause has not been removed. But actually, the cause is not so simple. If the progression has been stopped, the cause has been addressed, even if the asbestos still resides in the patient.
Are there any incurable illnesses? Are there any illnesses where, by definition, the cause cannot be identified, or cannot be removed, and the progression cannot be stopped?
I do not know of any incurable incurable illnesses. Do you?
The theory of cures says that if the cause can be removed, and the progression stopped – the illness can be cured.
Maybe, if the cause cannot be removed, and the progression cannot be stopped – it is not a disease, it is a disability.
But, but, but… What about all of the illnesses we cannot cure today? Aren’t there many, many illnesses we cannot cure? Actually, we’re not so sure. There are many illnesses that we can cure, but not cure with medicine. Lack of medicine is not a ’cause’ of illness. But lack of healthiness often is.
Removing the cause restores health, promotes health, and cures the illness. We know how to cure, how to ‘health’, many illnesses today. How many of today’s so called ‘incurable diseases’ are simply patients waiting for health, and receiving only hope and medicines that treat symptoms, but do not address cause, do not address the progression of the illness?
We don’t know the answer, and we won’t know, until we study health as seriously as we study medicine today.
to your health, tracy
Tracy is the author of two books about healthicine: