New Nondrug Interventions Are Vastly Improving Lives In Chinese Cancer Patients


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Written by: Justin Cowart

In a meta-analysis of over a dozen different studies of traditional Chinese medicine and other nonpharmacological interventions that were meant to improve the patient’s’ quality of life helps to affirm that these approaches, on the whole of things, help to really alleviate gastrointestinal problems, pain, anxiety, fatigue, insomnia, depression problems in Chinese cancer patients.

There are some specific interventions that have been associated with traditional Chinese medicine, such as reduced gastrointestinal disruptions after surgery, therapeutic massage and even acupuncture, which has also been able to lessen the fatigue in cancer patients, said the researchers in a report by the journal Oncotarget.

Keith Kelley, pathology professor emeritus from the University of Illinois’ animal sciences said that, “The meta-analysis confirmed that traditional Chinese medicine enhanced global quality of life for Chinese cancer patients.” Formal student of Dr. Kelley’s, Dr. Qiang, who is now working at the Dalian Medical University in China, led this study alongside his colleagues Xi Luo and Weiwei Tao.

Dr. Liu said this on the study,

“We think this is the most comprehensive study of traditional Chinese medicine psychobehavioral interventions and the quality of life of cancer patients published to date. Our findings will promote more investigations into how the body and mind are connected during disease development and will facilitate better cancer treatments.”

Other interventions that are not associated with traditional Chinese medicine, including physical training, stress management and cognitive behavioral therapy, also were found to be able to improve the quality of life in Chinese cancer patients, said researchers in a report.

The team’s research started with 23,000 different studies from Western journals and 6,500 studies that were published in China. All of the research was focused on different non-pharmacological interventions that involved adult Chinese cancer patients in China.  

After the team was able to eliminate duplicate studies, those that had nonstandard measures and that failed to include any control subjects or large enough sample sizes, they ended up with a total of 67 different studies, 16 of them having focused on traditional Chinese medicine.

The latter 16 different studies, however, did not include enough on qigong and tai chi to be able to allow the researchers to come to any meaningful conclusions about the specific effects of those interventions. The total number of the multiple cancer patients included in the analysis was 6,806.

Not a lot of studies have been done on Traditional Chinese Medicine… yet,

in the researchers reports, they wrote that,

“We were surprised by the limited number of papers on the use of traditional Chinese medicine psychobehavioral interventions for Chinese cancer patients that qualified for entry into this meta-analysis, particularly since the TCMs originated and are mostly practiced in China.”

Dr. Kelley went on to also say,

“Traditional Chinese medicine has been practiced for 2,500 years in China. But what is the scientific evidence that it improves the quality of life in cancer patients? This paper establishes that it does. Unfortunately, we were not able to determine what specific components of traditional Chinese medicine are the most effective.”

Kelley also said the he has hopes that the evidence they were able to come up with about traditional Chinese medicine, that other nonpharmacological interventions that benefit cancer patients, will help to prompt new interest in research that is aimed at better understanding the physiological mechanisms at play.

We would love to hear your thoughts and opinions on this topic in the comments below!


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Justin Cowart

Justin Cowart

Justin Cowart is a writer and researcher that loves to learn more about health, life, consciousness and making the world a better place. He loves music, traveling, meditation, video games and spending time with family and friends. He believes in baby steps and lifestyle changes in order to live a full life. In 2014, he lost around 40lbs from baby steps and emotional detoxing.
Justin Cowart


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