Supplementing Cancer Treatments with Traditional Chinese Medicine

It seems inevitable that each week I hear of a new cancer diagnosis, from a friend, patient or acquaintance.  What is going on?  Does everyone get some type of cancer just because they are aging?  Cancer seems to have morphed into more a chronic disease today rather than an automatic death sentence, but too many people are catching this bug. Thankfully, we have a plethora of alternative choices to accompany Western medical treatments.   Acupuncture is quickly becoming one of the most readily accepted complementary therapies to relieve the side-effects of very toxic treatments and build back our natural immune systems.

An interesting  survey done on Hong Kong cancer patients studied how they combined Traditional Chinese Medicine  (TCM) with the Western treatment they were undergoing. A colleague of mine Jennifer Dubowsky, L.Ac. had this to say about the study.

Data was collected from almost 800 cancer patients in Hong Kong. Of those, 42.9% used Western medicine practices for cancer treatment exclusively. The remaining 57.1% used at least one form of Chinese Medicine and 5 patients used TCM  exclusively. Interestingly, many of the cancer patients did not tell their doctors that they were using TCM along with the Western treatments. The Chinese patients were not comfortable talking about their preferences, at least with their doctors who are practicing Western medicine. 

 Some of my patients have experienced the same discomfort talking to their Western medical doctors about alternative treatments, but they are becoming fewer and fewer. Today, more physicians are knowledgeable about TCM, many are comfortable and some are actively curious. I believe that patients have led this change and am happy to see us move toward a more integrative approach to health care.

For more information on how Acupuncture can be helpful while undergoing radiation, chemotherapy and other Western treatments check out this post at the NIH  (National Institute of Health – Cancer Institute.