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Cancer Complementary and alternative medicine Medicine

Nothing strange about this

An “integrative” medical practitioner observes:

I just came from a lecture by a Chinese Prof. who has a cancer hospital in China (Fuda Cancer hospital). What is strange, was it didn’t use therapies from China, but rather technologies from the USA. They have cryoablation, photodynamic therapies, dendritic cell therapies, immunotherapy as well as chemoablation.

They claimed to have a very good success rate in increasing survival. Patients from all over have come to this hospital in Guangzhuo.

Why is he surprised?

As I’ve pointed out before, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is losing out to Western medicine in China. The number of TCM practitioners has fallen by 2/3 over the last several decades, while the number of doctors trained in Western medicine has soared by nearly 20-fold over the same period. There’s a reason for this: Western evidence-based medicine works, and the Chinese now know it. Indeed, even though, for example, the Fuda Cancer Hospital does devote part of its website to TCM, and there is unfortunately some significant woo there (although, oddly enough, it’s almost all Western woo, such as enzyme therapy), the vast majority of its website could have been written for a Western hospital, with long articles on colon cancer, breast cancer, lung cancer, and pancreatic cancer, for instance, all of which discuss scientific staging and prognosis, surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation, with almost nary a word about TCM. Also, prominent mention is given to modern experimental therapies, such as cryotherapy, brachytherapy, dendritic cell therapy, and biological therapies and cancer vaccines.

I find it most ironic that, as we in the U.S. embrace woo and rush to integrate it into our medical schools and academic hospitals, China appears to be doing exactly the opposite. Indeed, the Chinese appear to be embracing Western scientific medicine and gradually drifting away from TCM. They may have a long way to go, but the trend appears to be real. If the 21st century ends up being the Chinese century, as some are predicting, this will be one reason why.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

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