Breast Cancer

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Breast cancer is the most common form of malignancy and the number one cause of cancer deaths in females globally. Breast cancer accounts for 30% of all cancers in women and is the second commonest cause of cancer related deaths. The specific aetiology of breast cancer remains unknown. However, many risk factors have been identified. These include: increasing age (>40yrs), female gender, positive personal/family history of breast or ovarian cancer, early menarche, and late menopause, late age at first pregnancy, the use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT), obesity, high fat diet, etc.

The treatment of breast cancer largely depends on the stage of the disease. Different treatment options are available and more than one treatment modalities may be combined for a single patient depending on the stage of the disease, and the histological characteristics of the tumour. Options include surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, and immunological therapy. However each treatment has its own complications which if occurred may further impact negatively on the survival and quality of life of the patient.

Traditional Chinese Medicine herbal medicine has been found to have a lethal effect on breast cancer cells, reduce breast pain and nodules and ameliorate the side effects that may occur from other treatment modalities.

Most breast cancer cells are oestrogen or progesterone dependent and researchers have demonstrated that a Chinese herb, Trichosanthes Root reduces tumor growth, induces cell death in both oestrogen and non oestrogen dependent breast cancer cells with no toxicity. Combination  of TCM and acupuncture have also been found to reduce the pain and size of breast lump in patients with benign breast lesions.

In the hormonal treatment of breast cancer, patients are given antiestrogens which lead to side effects such as hot flashes, depression, etc. Acupuncture effectively prevents hot flashes in breast cancer patients placed on antiestrogens. This is supported by the findings of the Department of Radiation Oncology at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan proving the effectiveness of acupuncture for the treatment of hot flashes during menopause. Acupuncture is also devoid of side effects (nausea, dry mouth, dizziness, and anxiety) associated with the use of venlafaxine for patient with hot flashes.

 

References:

  1. Acupuncture & Herbs Reduce Breast Pain And Nodules 11 june 2014 Link
  2. Chinese Herb Kills Breast Cancer Cells. 28 may 2013 Link
  3. Acupuncture proven to fight breast cancer treatment side effects. 31 july 2010 Link

 

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