Journey to the east

Western medicine is largely based on direct treatment principle; you treat the disease at its respective organ(s). Chinese medicine, on other hand, sees the body more holistically. The parts of our body are inter-related to each other and hence can influence one another (are the Chinese Pauline? Is Paul Chinese?). That’s why you can puncture some parts of your foot to treat your liver disease etc. There are many underlying principles behind it, and one of them is blood circulation, since it is essential for nutrition supply in our body.

And hence it is refreshing to see a similar principle to be practiced for cancer treatment. Traditional Western understanding demands our effort to kill the tumor directly, but more often than not the problem is drug delivery, where you can’t even deliver the drug into the target. And Chinese insights would tell us that perhaps we should pay attention to the blood vessels surrounding the tumor, since if we could fix the supply line, hopefully we will see increase drug uptake in the tumor. Or, if we wanted to try the alternative, how about shutting down the supply line completely, so that the tumor won’t even be able to receive any nutrition to grow at all. Whatever hypotheses you believe in, now blood circulation comes into the picture. So you have more drugs targeting growth of blood vessels in the tumor. And for the first type of drug (fixing the supply line type), it can be combined with traditional chemotherapy/radiotherapy which aims to kill the cancer cells directly. And hence you have the best of both worlds, Western and Chinese, in one package.

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