杏林專欄. > 臨床腫瘤專科 > 陳亮祖醫生 > How blending Western and traditional Chinese medicine can boost cancer treatment in Hong Kong

How blending Western and traditional Chinese medicine can boost cancer treatment in Hong Kong


How blending Western and traditional Chinese medicine can boost cancer treatment in Hong Kong


When his doctor told him that the sharp pain in his back was stage four lung cancer, Rocky Yiu, 57, could not bring himself to ask how long he had left to live. “It felt pointless asking because they practically gave me a death sentence,” he says.

Five years on, Yiu’s battle continues, aided by traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), which he believes has helped slow the spread of the disease.

The number of people diagnosed with cancer in Hong Kong is increasing every year, partly due to an ageing population. In 2016, according to the Hong Kong Cancer Registry under the Hospital Authority, 31,468 new cancer cases were diagnosed locally, while 14,209 Hongkongers lost their lives to the city’s No 1 killer.

Medical experts believe that, when used correctly, TCM might be more ideal than Western treatments for some, and it can play a complementary role in treating the condition for others. This has led to calls for more collaboration involving both forms of medicine.

Although Yiu had received 25 rounds of electrotherapy, nine months’ worth of targeted therapy and four cycles of chemotherapy, all failed to shrink the tumour in his lung.

By the time he completed the fourth cycle of chemotherapy, the tumour had grown from 5cm to 8cm. Yiu stopped all Western medical treatment, but continued with TCM, which he had been using to manage the side effects of the cancer treatment.

“Targeted therapy left my skin so sensitive that I couldn’t use warm water in the shower, not even during winter. TCM helped reduce the sensitivity, and also helped me manage the pain, constipation and tingling sensations from Western treatments,” he says.

During a check-up in 2016, six months after he discontinued chemotherapy, his doctor noticed that the growth had shrunk back to 5cm. Yiu credits TCM with the good news.

Although his prognosis still looks bleak – the cancer has spread, causing him pain in his bones and constipation – he says TCM has kept the more dire consequences of his illness in check.

Yiu’s TCM practitioner Tina Lee, who works at Tung Wah Hospital, says that because his cancer was advanced, her treatment plan was to help him improve his quality of life, and to counter some of the toxins left from the chemotherapy and targeted therapy.

“TCM is about promoting overall health, disease prevention, and boosting the body’s ability to heal to achieve harmony and balance,” Lee explains.

“But TCM has its limitations. We can’t determine whether a person has cancer just by taking their pulse or asking them a few questions. Patients are always diagnosed by Western medical methods, such as blood tests, biopsies and scans.”

Dr Liu Yulong, principal lecturer at the Baptist University’s School of Chinese Medicine, adds: “We wouldn’t encourage patients to rely solely on TCM for cancer, unless they are very old or too weak to endure conventional cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy.”

Liu says TCM could help some patients complete their Western treatment as planned. “TCM can help them manage their side effects so they can finish their cycles on time, which is essential to recovery.”

Dr Chan Leung-cho, a specialist in clinical oncology, agrees. He says TCM can help relieve nerve problems and dry mouth resulting from chemotherapy.

Chan and Liu both practise at the Hong Kong Anti-Cancer Society Dr and Mrs Michael S.K. Mak Integrated Chemotherapy Centre, which has been offering integrated Chinese and Western services since 2012. Both doctors have served some 400 patients.

Chan believes clear and direct communication between TCM practitioners and doctors is key to designing a successful integrated treatment plan for patients.

“Doctors of Western medicine are often worried something might go wrong if their patients also take TCM because they don’t know much about it – I don’t either. And patients may not be able to properly convey the kinds of treatment they’re undergoing.”

While Chan warns that patients can run serious risks if they withhold information about their TCM treatment from doctors, both he and Liu agree that Hongkongers could benefit from more direct collaboration between TCM and Western medicine.

In 2014, the Food and Health Bureau launched the Integrated Chinese-Western Medicine Pilot Project to study the operations at government hospitals.

The findings of the programme would help officials formulate the model for the city’s first Chinese medicine hospital, which is expected to open in late 2024.

“We want to show patients that integrated medicine can help them, and convince sceptical Western doctors that TCM can help their patients.

“It’s not about choosing sides, but what we can do for patients,” Liu says.

Yiu’s TCM practitioner Lee says she thinks this could also help patients identify trustworthy TCM practitioners, instead of turning to expensive and unlicensed healers.

“On the mainland, there are many hospitals with integrated Western and Chinese medical services. I think Hong Kong should follow its example.”

As for Yiu, he is trying to find hope in the time he has left.

“Sometimes I get better, which gives me hope. Then the pain comes back. I know it’s too much to ask for a miracle. All I can do now is treat every day as a reward.”


原文: 南華早報


( 臨床腫瘤專科 )



一起走過的日子- 被抑鬱症襲擊的兆綿
一起走過的日子- 被抑鬱症襲擊的兆綿 一年多前你被確診患上肝癌並影響到身體多個地方, 甚至擔心胸椎骨受到腫瘤影響有很大機會會壓住脊椎神經導致下身癱瘓, 幸好經過標靶治療以及電療治療之後, 情況受到控制, 雖然仍然要依靠止痛藥, 但大[...]
劣食如何影響健康(上) 早過零兩個星期之前, 在媒體上見到不少隔離營人士所進食的食物照片。相信大家都會覺得非常嚇人。 但我看了之後,都覺得有啲面善。 再諗一諗 原來發覺,這些食物的外表和公立醫院的病人餐甚至醫院員工canteen 的[...]
<<傷風感冒後 喉嚨痕係咁咳點搞?>>
<<傷風感冒後 喉嚨痕係咁咳點搞?>> 近這兩三星期不少幼兒幼稚園小學都爆發上呼吸道感染。 不少細路仔都有流鼻水,喉嚨不適的症狀。 大人接觸後很多都受到感染。 不少患者都有先喉嚨乾燥 輕微疼痛 ,繼而再有少少[...]
癌症病人應否接受新冠疫苗接種? 病毒持續肆虐,莫忽視感染風險和長遠影響。 然而癌症患者尤其是治療進行中的一般抵抗力較弱,是否適合接種疫苗,當中要考慮哪些因素? 癌症資訊網慈善基金顧問醫生,吳劍邦醫生內科腫瘤科專科 ,就以上問題詳細回[...]
<<瑪麗醫院的美膳閣>> (請注意: 此文乃是曾經在瑪麗醫院工作或讀書人士的同溫層文章) 話說瑪麗醫院員工有好幾個員工飯堂, 其中一個只是開放給員工使用的位於於護士宿舍Block A 地下的美膳閣. 呢間餐廳[...]
減肥不成功遺忘的一個重點 下集
減肥不成功遺忘的一個重點 下集 上星期講到筆者勸告一個病房姑娘可以試一試食腸道益生菌 ,可以幫助減肥。但係點解要食益生菌呢? 之前都係呢個搏客講過幾次,腸道的細菌分佈組成影響著全身 健康。而是於每個人的長度細菌分佈都有不同 很多時都[...]
一起走過的日子: 綿綿不綿!
一起走過的日子: 綿綿不綿! 將近80的綿綿 (頭髮如綿羊毛髮般一樣的白, 一樣的軟綿綿)一年前原定進行手術切除胰臟癌, 但手術期間發現病情影響到腹膜, 所以手術”Open and Close “( 因為不適合繼續做手術而提早中止手[...]
呼籲支援癌症康復患者重返職場 根據香港政府統計署最新資料指出,香港總人口截至2017年年中約有7,389.5千人,勞動人口和就業人口分別為3,960.4千人和 3,850.8千人,就業率則為2.9%,相對全球失業率,情況不算嚴重,然[...]
潮流興用 CBD oil, 對癌症病人有冇幫助?
潮流興用 CBD oil, 對癌症病人有冇幫助? 時代唔同咗, 除咗要 update 最新嘅醫學資訊, 還要 update 市場最潮流嘅資訊! 經常被病人問五花八門的保健資料, 有時真係口啞啞, 與其講唔知, 不如用專業知識幫一幫大[...]
保健產品一定保健? 經常發現, 有好多病人同時進食大量保健產品, 希望盡快病好或者更加健康, 其實這些保健產品是否只有益無害? 首先, 作為醫生嘅我一定唔會依賴保健產品, 因為每種保健產品都係一種藥, 雖然每一粒/包產品內的主要成分[...]
減肥唔成功 ,遺漏的一個要點
<<減肥唔成功 ,遺漏的一個要點>> 今朝巡房的時候有病房的姑娘, 無意中講到原來佢正在嘗試減肥。 我教佢試下用168的方法 ,但係講下講下我發覺佢唔係咁簡單。 佢話佢已經 不嬲食好少嘢 ,長期都唔係好好胃口[...]
其實醫生巡房係做D乜(上) 早排同一個中醫朋友傾計, 佢話因為中醫主要係做門診, 佢話佢有啲羨慕西醫可以在病房中工作,可以巡房。 我同佢講其實等多幾年將軍澳中醫院開幕佢都到時就中醫巡房。 咁我就同佢講下係公立醫院醫生巡房係做啲乜嘢。[...]