The successes recorded by modern medicine in the last 100 years are unquestionably of great importance for the life of man, as medicine has acquired instruments to help him to effectively navigate through the vast ocean of disease.
The organization of knowledge, the consciousness of public hygiene, health education and the abundant use of scientific discoveries from other branches of science such as chemistry and physics are important factors that have set a milestone of quality next to the obscure medical practices of the past.
The relentless development of pharmacology and the evolution of surgical technology and sophisticated diagnostic instruments are the expression of a growing scientific world which has supplied a solid base for obtaining results that have greatly improved the average health status of the world community.
An imaginary time traveller coming from the 1800s who could see the progress that has been made would certainly be positively struck by the current state of public health.
That notwithstanding, the goals of earlier generations cannot have the same value for those who are living through current medical problems as it had for people in the past. In other words, the level of health that we have reached – which is never to be taken for granted or as a stable situation – needs continuous improvement towards ever greater and more satisfactory levels of well-being. These can be reached only with relentless vigilance and commitment to the elimination of errors and distortions, the prevention of abuses, and the conceiving of new solutions.
These aspects are becoming more pressing because, for a number of years, many have begun to sense that medicine is becoming stalled. It is too anchored to outdated concepts, and incapable of proposing innovative concepts upon which to build new foundations for medical knowledge.
There is pressing need for new, life-giving sap to impart vigour to an asphyxiating theoretical structure whose philosophy, research, and practice no longer seems aligned with our times. The advanced and demanding society in which we live is no longer satisfied with the domination, for a limited time, of any disease by using the knowledge of physics and chemistry. The need to research and introduce therapies that take the integrity and the permanence of a human being into account is emerging more and more forcefully in our society; this in an economy of health that has the widest field possible, and that is adequate to face those degenerative and chronic diseases that today can no longer be fought with current therapies that are narrow, limited and obsolete.
There has been a transition in the last century from the predominance of sthenic pathologies, that is, those that occur in a young, fit body, to that of asthenic diseases that occur in patients who are older and less fit. The notable scientific and social consequences of this change have not been paralleled with increased medical consciousness such as to favour a widening of the theoretical boundaries of a disease.
Quite the contrary, there has been a myopic preference for ignoring the consequences of a way of perceiving which is excessively specialised and short-sighted. Priority has been given to the immediate effects of a treatment, leaving the rest to chance.
This attitude demonstrates a deep and grave impasse in the treatment of disease, confirmed by the lack of theories and perspectives that enable us to see a physical disease in a new manner, different from the old. So far, there have been partial diagnoses that include only pathogenic analyses in a therapeutical perspective that is only symptomatological. Conversely, it is the entire individual who must instead be considered, in his vital dynamics as well as from a psychological and even spiritual perspective, even if these cannot be measured.
Soul and body are not two separate and non-communicating domains, but two manifestations of the same essence, and equally responsible for the health of an individual.
Because medical orthodoxy is closed a priori to this concept, the need for deep renewal is inducing thinkers and doctors to adopt alternative positions with increasing frequency. This is demonstrated by the growth of writing and testimonials that are not in step with the dictates of official medicine. This especially happens in the area of oncology, where a deep state of confusion and resignation is most felt.
It is in this area, in fact, that the failure of medicine is most glaring; it is here where the symptomatological approach reveals all its limitations; it is here where medical theories end in an infinite number of cul de sacs.
Genetics, the battle horse of modern oncology, is about to give up the ghost, together with its endless explanations based on enzymatic and receptorial processes. Actually, it has already failed – it is just that no one can think of anything else that can take its place. The consequence of the oncological establishment’s inability to admit the failure of this line of research, which is at this point scientifically indefensible, is the continuous waste of a great quantity of economic, scientific and human resources.
What road to take? Where to look for those minimal logical elements that can shed light on the ignorance that pervades oncology?
Many thinkers – especially biologists – believe that by applying the Darwinian theory to the evolution of living beings, it may be possible to walk a new road when it comes to the so-called degenerative diseases such as cancer, cardiopathies, and mental illness. According to this line of thought, these diseases are not attributable to environmental or genetic factors as is presently believed, but to infections.