Traditional Chinese Medicine to Treat Cancer is Not Recommended Says Health Officials


According to the National Center for Complimentary and Integrative Medicine (NIH) there is limited evidence to support the effectiveness of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Despite this however millions of patients opt to undergo TMC treatments each year.

But when it comes to patients choosing TCM over Western medicine for life-threatening conditions there is less debate and more agreement at least among healthcare professionals.

TCM encompasses many different holistic and natural practices including acupuncture herbal medicine therapeutic massage dietary recommendations and meditative practices that combine specific movements and breathing techniques with mental focus. TCM is rooted in the ancient philosophy of Taoism and dates back more than 2500 years.

There are many reasons why patients may chose TCM over western medicine such as personal beliefs financial concerns or cultural inclinations. However the NIH recommends that TCM not be used in place of conventional care that is proven to be effective.

The NIH cites a case-in-point involving Chinese actress Xu Ting who was diagnosed with lymphoma a form of cancer at the age of 26 she used Traditional Chinese Medicine to treat cancer.

Traditional Chinese Medicine to Treat Cancer

In a blog for her fans Xu wrote that she did not want to undergo chemotherapy for her condition as she felt doing so would be exorbitantly expensive and torturous on her body. Instead she decided to undergo TCM treatments including back stretching cupping acupuncture and gua sha and a method in which the skin is scraped to produce light bruising[1].

Xu documented all of her TCM treatments on social media and her posts attracted a lot of attention. However the attention she received was mixed as many individuals insisted she seek the help of modern medicine while others argued that many cancer patients pass away after receiving chemotherapy and that not everything Western physicians say is correct. Still others argued that both types of treatments needed to go together with chemotherapy to target the tumor and TCM to offer some relief of her symptoms[2].

As a last resort Xu did undergo chemotherapy but the young actress died on September 7 2016. In addition to their condolences many of her social media followers wondered if she would still be alive today had she undergone chemotherapy when she was first diagnosed.

In an article by the Telegrapgh.co.uk it was reported that the head of the TCM department at the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences in Beijing said that solely replying on acupuncture and fire cupping is not enough in treating a malignant tumor and its usually a choice made out of fear of painful treatments like chemotherapy and radiotherapy.


[1] http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-37370201

[2] http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-37370201

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