A large scale review of research by Australia and Chinese University scientists has proved with thousands of studies using hundreds of thousands of cancer patients that Chinese herbal medicine offers significant treatment for most types of cancers - including breast cancer.
The research comes from Australia's University of Western Sydney and the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine. The researchers analyzed and reviewed 2,964 human clinical studies that involved 253,434 cancer patients. Among these were 2,385 randomized controlled studies and 579 non-randomized controlled studies.
These studies covered most of the cancer types, but the cancers most studied were lung cancer, liver cancer, stomach cancer, breast cancer, esophageal cancer, colorectal cancer and nasopharyngeal (throat and sinus) cancer. Yes, breast cancer was the fourth most-studied type of cancer among these thousands of clinical studies.
The researchers discovered that the overwhelming majority of studies – 90% of the clinical studies - utilized herbal medicine.
The researchers found that 72% of these studies applied Traditional Chinese Medicine alongside conventional treatment, but a full 28% applied Traditional Chinese Medicine separately to experimental groups.
In terms of cancer patients, about 64% were given both TCM and conventional medical treatments. The rest were given TCM therapy alone, but a little over half of them did not qualify whether the patient was given conventional treatment at some point in the past.
Because of the large number of studies, there were different types of results, depending upon the type of study, the type of treatment, and the outcome measures tested. Still, in a full 1,015 studies or 85% of those that reported on symptoms, TCM treatment resulted in improvement of cancer symptoms with many of those reporting reduced pain. Another 883 studies – 70% – showed increased survival rates. Another 38% showed reduced tumor size, and 28% showed increased quality of life. Another 19% showed lower relapse rates and another 7% showed reduced complications.
The researchers also found that only a few studies tested TCM acupuncture treatment in cancer therapy. In their discussion they qualified that acupuncture treatment in cancer therapy to alleviate pain is quite popular in the U.S., but in Chinese cancer studies, herbal medicine therapy is the leading type of holistic treatment for cancer.
This study follows another extensive review of research published in 2012 on TCM cancer treatment. This study comes from Norway's National Research Center in Complementary and Alternative Medicine and the University of Tromsø, Norway, also with collaboration with the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine.
This earlier study reviewed significantly fewer studies, compiling 716 trials that included 1,198 cancer patients with either leukemia, stomach cancer, liver cancer or esophageal cancer.
Among these studies, 98.5% used herbal medicine, and again, acupuncture therapy was rare. In this study, symptom improvement was achieved in 85% of the patients that used the TCM therapy.