Traditional Chinese medicine is well known for often offering safe and effective nondrug interventions for many illnesses. This is of particular interest to cancer patients who often dread the side effects of many orthodox interventions for cancer treatment. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign reported on Nov. 17, 2015, nondrug interventions have been found to improve the quality of life for Chinese cancer patients.
Researchers have found from a meta-analysis of dozens of studies of traditional Chinese medicine and other nonpharmacological interventions which are meant to improve the quality of life of patients that these approaches generally help lessen depression, anxiety, fatigue, pain, insomnia and gastrointestinal problems in Chinese patients suffering from cancer. Specific nondrug interventions which are associated with traditional Chinese medicine, such as therapeutic massage and acupuncture, decreased gastrointestinal problems after surgery. Acupuncture also decreased fatigue in patients with cancer.
Dr. Qiang Liu, who is a former University of Illinois medical scholar who is now at Dalian Medical University in China, led this study. Dr. Liu has said this appears to be the most comprehensive study of psychobehavioral interventions of traditional Chinese medicine and the quality of life of patients with cancer which has been published to date. Dr. Liu has gone on to say this study will encourage more investigations into how the body and mind are associated during the development of disease and will lead to better treatments for cancer.
The researchers reported other interventions which are not associated with traditional Chinese medicine such as stress management, physical training and cognitive behavioral therapy also were found to improve the quality of life in Chinese patients suffering from cancer. University of Illinois animal sciences and pathology professor emeritus Keith Kelley, who was an author of the study, said that in China Traditional Chinese medicine has actually been practiced for 2,500 years. Yet until this research there does not seem to have been any evidence that it improves quality of life in patients with cancer.
This study has been published in the journal Oncotarget. Cancer patients suffer from many symptoms which include anxiety, depression, fatigue, pain, and lower quality of life. It was the goal of this study to evaluate via meta-analysis the benefits of Traditional Chinese Medicine psycho-behavioral interventions for improvement of quality of life in cancer patients. It was observed that such nondrug Chinese interventions are effective in improving the quality of life in cancer patients. It appears such nondrug interventions offer promise as good adjunctive therapies for cancer patients.