The Western model of integrative oncology: the contribution of Chinese medicine

Chin J Integr Med. 2012 Sep;18(9):643-51. doi: 10.1007/s11655-012-1200-1. Epub 2012 Aug 31.

Abstract

Western integrative oncology (IO) combines conventional mainstream medicine with complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) for the care of cancer patients. Since it includes patient orientation and the holistic approach of many CAM options, IO offers not only preventive measures, but also a wide spectrum of treatment modalities for all stages of illness, from the acute phases through the rehabilitation period. Many therapeutic methods of IO are supported by scientific evidence, for example, dietary and nutritional counseling, exercise, and mind-body medicine, among others. IO also includes therapeutic interventions of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). At present acupuncture, qigong, and foot massage play an important role in the Western care of cancer patients. However, unlike in China, in Western countries herbal remedies are usually only used during those periods in which chemotherapy is not applied in order to avoid herb-drug interactions. Instead, acupuncture is widely used to manage the side-effects that often accompany chemotherapy. This paper focuses on the role of Chinese medicine in Western IO and reviews the scope and limitations of IO in the care of cancer patients today. The future challenges of IO will also be discussed in this paper.

MeSH terms

  • China
  • Complementary Therapies
  • Europe
  • Humans
  • Integrative Medicine*
  • Medical Oncology*
  • Medicine, Chinese Traditional*
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'
  • Precision Medicine