(CNN)Karen Kwai-Ching Li, called KC, has lived in fear of her osteosarcoma, a most cancers of the bone, for nearly 28 years.
She becomes diagnosed in 1991, on the age of 10, however, failed medicine over months resulted in her tumors spreading, main to an amputation of her leg. After the surgery and 6 rounds of chemotherapy, she went into remission.
Using her prosthetic leg to get round, she keeps peering Dr. Godfrey Chan, a pediatric oncologist at Queen Mary Hospital in Hong Kong, to reveal her recuperation and ensure that cancer doesn’t go back.
KC, a cancer patient at Queen Mary clinic, Hong Kong
“My situation has been quite solid,” she stated.
To get thru her remedy and the range of aspect consequences of chemotherapy, KC became to a seemingly contrasting exercise: conventional Chinese medicine.
Each time she had chemotherapy, her body seemed vulnerable, she said. Friends and family advocated the plant root ginseng, whose benefits are believed to consist of boosting energy, with latest research supporting that claim.
When her own family prepared ginseng for her to drink, she felt “greater energized and regained a bit greater electricity,” she explained, which led her to use it after each chemotherapy session.
But she took it with Chan’s blessing — because Chan isn’t always your typical oncologist. Though Chan practices modern Western remedy, his father turned into a practitioner of conventional Chinese medication. After a childhood surrounded by means of herbs and treatments, he’s bringing the two collectively to discover the medical price of herbal medicinal drug.
His own family history gives him a part, assisting him bridge a medical divide to the advantage of patients like KC, in particular inside the cultural melting pot that is Hong Kong.
Advantages and headaches
“It’s like a treasure mine,” Chan said. “We already have quite a few records from history that we recognize that a number of this formula works [and] a number of these components does now not paintings.”
By exploring the energetic substances of thousands of items utilized in Chinese medication, Chan believes, he may want to discover remedy combos to assist patients to heal quicker.
Powdered herbs fill his lab on the University of Hong Kong, in which his team cautiously measures and tests the properties of elements in vials and how they react with chemical compounds and human cells.
“We observe traditional Chinese medicine in a greater holistic manner,” he said.
But such a merger calls for due diligence to make certain the herbs supplement, in preference to confound or damage, any modern-day treatment — specifically with some thing as sensitive as a cancer treatment.
“We need to be very cautious, due to the fact other than blessings, we also can cope with headaches,” Chan said.
One instance, he explained, is lingzhi, a Chinese mushroom taken by lots of his cancer patients, with steering and supervision. They consider that it could decorate immune feature. However, for sufferers with cancers of the immune system, such as leukemia, use of such an herb may want to help cancer proliferate. Here, “it is probably now not clever,” he stated.
The lingzhi mushroom is thought to assist immune feature.
For KC, the final results of two therapies turned into higher than one, she stated, and he or she believes “the mixing of healing procedures to be a future trend in Hong Kong,” and extra globally.
Investment within the destiny
Chan is likewise looking to provide proof for the combining of Eastern and Western remedy because he said, people are already doing so without knowing the real blessings — or the viable harms.
In the 1990s, he said, a observe he conducted revealed that almost half of-of his patients have been taking Chinese medicine in mixture with their cancer treatment. This fueled his desire to be able to tell them.
“Some of them clearly discussed [using both] with me,” he stated. “But maximum of them, they do not. They failed to bother to inform me.”
The authorities have since supplied investment and assets for extra research into Chinese medicinal herbs, he explained, constructing hospitals and clinics for the University of Hong Kong school of medication and ensuring more excellent control.
“I suppose there will be greater probabilities for integration within the future,” Chan stated.