Integrative Cancer Care with Traditional Chinese MedicineIntegrative Cancer Care with Traditional Chinese Medicine

By Frances Lam, L.Ac.

In China, there is a branch of medicine known as Fu Zheng therapy. "Fu" means to fortify, and "Zheng" refers to the center of the constitution. Fu Zheng therapy, which fortifies and restores the center, is an immune-enhancing regimen of Chinese herbs often used to complement conventional cancer treatments such as radiation, chemotherapy and surgery. Studies have shown that using Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) alongside conventional medical treatment can enhance and improve outcomes.

A study published in 2003 by the Cancer Research Laboratory at Methodist Research Institute in Indiana, on use of Ganoderma Lucidum (Reishi) in cancer treatment found that the mushroom "suppressed cell adhesion and cell migration of highly invasive breast and prostate cancer cells, suggesting its potency to reduce tumor invasiveness. Thus, Ganoderma Lucidum clearly demonstrates anticancer activity in experiments with cancer cells and has possible therapeutic potential as a dietary supplement for an alternative therapy for breast and prostate cancer."

Numerous studies have also shown that Astragalus (Huang Qi) can enhance the therapeutic benefits of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. A 2010 BioScience Trends study reported that "Astragalus has a potential immunomodulatory role when combined with chemotherapy and radiotherapy; it promotes the activity of lymphocytes, natural killer cells and macrophages, which leads to the secretion of interleukin-6 (IL-6) and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)."

TCM practitioners work with patients being treated for cancer by integrating all the modalities of TCM (acupuncture, herbal and dietary therapy, cupping, Qi Gong and Tai Chi) into a healing strategy to support conventional treatment for cancer, outcomes can improve, enhancing quality of life and accelerating recovery.

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