Cancer Adjuvant TCM Therapy
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Cancer Adjuvant TCM Therapy

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)Clinical Oncology

In recent years, the use of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) to support cancer treatment has become popular. Quite a lot of cancer patients have selected to combine both Chinese and Western medicine hopping to minimize chances of remission. 

Integrative Chinese and Western Medicine

 Treatment approach Direction
Western MedicineDiagnosis, surgery, chemotherapy (oral and targeted medication) and radiation therapy Based on clinical evidence, targeting the main tumor and latent tumor cells
Chinese medicine
  • Internal treatment: traditional Chinese medicine prescription 
  • External treatment: external application, acupuncture, moxibustion, massage, etc.
According to pathological diagnosis from Western medicine and global clinical medication guidelines. For patients of all stages making all-around physical adjustments, while suggesting safe and effective treatment can be beneficial.  This matches the philosophy behind combining Western and traditional medicine. 

Traditional Chinese medicine and Western medicine are two completely different systems. Although the two sides have different treatment methods for cancer, it’s been seen in data from multiple different countries that malignant tumors can be treated from multiple perspectives through cooperative Chinese and Western medicine. Both of which serving to increase the quality of life for patients.

For the prevention and treatment of cancer, compared to monotherapy the combined curative effect of Chinese and Western medicine is higher. Chinese medicine focuses on the macroscopic with milder methods, while Western medicine focuses more on the microscopic. The combination of the two is advocated for its therapeutic effect. 

Theory

During treatment with Chinese medicine, different elements will be considered comprehensively to design the most suitable treatment plan for the patient.

  • First using Western medicine to assess the tumor, then using traditional medicine to help regulate physical health and immunity. Nourishing both yin and yang to strengthen and nourish the body
  • Assist patients in postoperative recovery and lay a solid foundation for follow-up treatment
  • Reduce or control side effects of chemoradiotherapy or targeted therapy
  • Relieve the symptoms of cancer patients, improving the patient's quality of life
    • Especially the more advanced stage of cancer: Chinese medicine is milder with less burden on the patient’s body and provides another effective choice for patients and their families


In conclusion, Traditional Chinese Medicine has been found to be effective in different stages of cancer before and after treatment, even in advanced stages of cancer.

Treatment

Adjuvant cancer therapy is used alongside primary forms of treatment such as surgery to lower the chances of cancer coming back. In recent years, many clinical studies have observed that traditional Chinese medicine has a certain effect on reducing or controlling the side effects of chemotherapy. Acupuncture has even been listed as one of the non-drug treatment methods by ASCO (American Society of Clinical Oncology). This enables patients to undergo different courses of treatment smoothly. Therefore, Chinese medicine is widely used in the treatment of tumors at present, and it goes hand in hand with Western medicine.

Side effects of cancer treatment 
  • Dizziness
  • Hair loss
  • Dry mouth
  • Mouth Ulcers
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Exhaustion
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Pain

Cancer treatment may cause a variety of side effects. Patients are often troubled by such symptoms reducing their overall quality of life. This cascades into impacting psychological and physical health. Traditional medicine working with western medicine can effectively alleviate patient discomfort. By regulating the patient’s physique through Chinese medicine, it can help improve quality of life further helping patients reach their treatment outcome. 

Effectiveness of Traditional Chinese Medicine

Many clinical studies have observed that Traditional  Chinese Medicine can relieve and control the side effects of chemotherapy and improve the quality of life of cancer patients. There is also clinical data showing that Traditional  Chinese Medicine may help fight cancer cells.

Frequently Asked Questions

Chinese medicine and Western medicine generally do not conflict in the treatment of cancer. With support from the Chinese and Western medicine interaction database from CUHK ( Chinese University of Hong Kong) registered Chinese medicine practitioners will search for corresponding Chinese medicines during the diagnosis and treatment process to ensure that patients undergo treatment safely. There can be many potential interactions between treatment options for cancer. It's recommended to discuss with the doctor to choose an appropriate treatment plan and timing. However, it is recommended that the patient consults with both an oncologist and a Chinese medicine practitioner before receiving TCM-assisted treatment.
Previously, the majority of patients that chose TCM-assisted treatment did have later stages of cancer, however in more recent years clinical studies and different clinical guidelines have shown that TCM-assisted cancer treatment has empirical support across multiple stages of cancer treatment. It is recommended to discuss the best treatment options as early as possible to grasp the best timing.
In the past Western medicine would prioritize controlling the symptoms which in disguise has more side effects. Clinically, Chinese medicine can more effectively alleviate the side effects during chemotherapy and radiotherapy because there are registered medications to help soothe these side effects. Moreover before starting TCM-assisted treatment acupuncture is used to help improve liver and kidney function. This collaboration between Chinese and Western medicine is more accurate and will help significantly. If you are currently suffering from side effects during chemotherapy and radiotherapy, and you are worried that taking Chinese medicine may aggravate your symptoms such as gastrointestinal discomfort you should discuss with a registered Chinese medicine practitioner.
TCM-assisted cancer treatment has proven to be effective in both previous clinical research and guidelines. It’s recommended to discuss with a specialist as soon as possible regarding a TCM-assisted cancer treatment plan, tackling the cancer head-on from a combined perspective and achieving a higher curative effect.

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