22 Aug Traditional Chinese Medicine; how it can assist in treating cancer patients.
Where does Chinese Medicine (CM) sit treatment-wise with a patient newly diagnosed with Cancer? The strength of CM, Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs, comes with the support for the body and mind that it provides while the patient undergoes Western Medical cancer treatments.
Cancer treatments are quite aggressive in nature, which as we know, weakens the patients immune system dramatically as it kills off both the Cancer cells and the good cells. Chemotherapy is not so selective by nature that it only knocks off the bad guys! Radiotherapy targets specific areas quite accurately these days, however, it can still damage surrounding tissue.
It is during and after these aggressive treatments that CM comes into its own, CM addresses physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of care. Acupuncture works with the Qi, (Vital Energy), of the body, so, by using specific points that nourish Qi, blood and other body fluids and by moving Qi, to allow the free flow of Qi, we can help the patient to feel a little more relaxed, less energy depleted, manage any pain that may be present and to feel more in charge of everything else that is going on throughout their busy treatment program. CM addresses physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of care.
Chinese Herbs have a large role in helping to support and nourish the immune system to decrease the likelihood of infections post cancer treatments. Herbal formulas are created to meet each individual patients requirements and, as the treatment progresses, changes to the formula will be made to best meet the patients new symptomology.
It is a very holistic and dynamic treatment strategy that is not ‘a one size fits all’ medicine. It is sometimes disappointing how fearful Western doctors can be of incorporating other treatment modalities into a patients care regime that can substantially improve the day to day lives of patients undergoing cancer treatments.
In saying all of this, it is extremely important to source Chinese Medicine Physicians that have expertise in this area and can work hand in hand with the Oncologist to get the best possible treatment outcomes, with the least amount of side effects that impact the lives of patients and their families.
There are a number of CM Physicians throughout Melbourne that I refer patients to for this specialized, supportive treatment who have a special interest in and the experience in, working alongside Oncologists.
Whilst Chinese Medicine can be a wonderful adjunctive treatment, seeing patients come through with a strong immune system, good energy levels and a much improved state of health post cancer treatment than those who choose only the western medicine treatment path, I do not suggest in any way that Chinese Medicine provides miraculous cures.
Written by Rosemary Fletcher; Chinese Medicine Practitioner