Saturday, January 30, 2010

Integrative Strategies with Radiotherapy

  Integrative Strategies with Radiotherapy
By Alex Berks L. Ac. FABORM
Life Cycle Health Center Clinical Director, Oncology

How does Chinese Medicine (CM) improve the efficacy of radiation treatment?
The literature on integrative cancer care from China consistently finds that combining Chinese Medicine (CM)--herbs, acupuncture, therapeutic exercise, diet, etc.--with biomedicine is superior to using either a single biomedical therapy or relying solely on CM.  Results indicate improved survival rates and quality of life, as well as prolonged life expectancy.

Chinese Medicine (CM) classifies radiation as "toxic heat".  Based on the concepts of restoring balance to the body, CM can mitigate the side-effects of radiation, while at the same time making radiotherapy more effective. 

Acupuncturists knowledgeable in cancer support prescribe Chinese herbal formulas designed with a base combination of herbs to address primary signs and symptoms and add additional herbs to address the particulars of a condition.  For example, a basic formula for a radiation patient will strengthen digestive function, improve fluid absorption, improve white and red blood cell counts, improve blood microcirculation, protect vital organ systems and reduce inflammation. Patients receiving radiation to the lungs may require additional herbs to address dry cough and possibly blood in the sputum.

Radiosensitivity can be improved by increasing microcirculation within the tumor through the use of "blood-activating" herbs.  Many of these herbs have anti-coagulant, anti-platelet, and anti-inflammatory properties, as do supplements such as Omega-3 fatty acids.

Research from China shows that treating the side effects of radiation (and chemotherapy) by rebalancing various body systems improves conventional treatment efficacy, while improving long-term survival.

For the rest of the article including footnotes click here