Chinese Medicine and Cancer Care

Since the time of its origins 3,000 years ago, Chinese medicine has been used for the treatment of tumors, identified in antiquity as liu yan, meaning lumps as hard as a rock, or as zhong yang, meaning inflamed ulcers. Over the course of millennia, various strategies emerged to reduce pain, swelling and tumor mass; to improve host resistance and enhance body competence; to potentiate the effects of conventional radiation and chemotherapies; and to prevent, control and treat the adverse effects of conventional treatment like fatigue, weakness, gastric distress, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting and low white blood cells. This article explains the Chinese traditional medicine approach to cancer and reports on modern studies that demonstrate the usefulness of herbs and acupuncture in cancer care.