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TCM: A Woman's Guide to Healing From Breast CancerChapter One
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) can support you during every stage of breast cancer, from the moment of diagnosis; to before, during, and after surgery; through chemotherapy and radiation; as well as during tamoxifen therapy. Perhaps most importantly, it has a wealth of sound advice for the healing journey you must take after completing treatment. TCM provides a comprehensive framework for dealing with the things you, must change if you want to prevent cancer's energy pattern from taking hold again. Thousands of years ago, TCM theory stated that as long as Qi internal vital energy remains strong and flows freely and the body's organs work in harmony, disease or illness cannot enter. In other words, the answers to a healthy body lie inside your body itself. Your miraculous energy blueprint holds the key to true healing.
Whether or not you develop breast cancer, or experience a recurrence of breast cancer, depends on how strong your immune system is, how well your organs work together in harmony, and how well you take care of yourself. TCM believes there is always something you can do to help break this disease's energy pattern, whether it is controlling it, preventing its recurrence, or in some cases, eliminating it altogether. For thousands of years, TCM has understood the root cause of the symptoms many women experience related to their menstrual cycle, particularly around the age of menopause, and their linkages to liver and kidney Qi function disorders. (In TCM, the liver is the most important organ for women's health.) These function disorders mean your liver cannot helpyou circulate enough Qi and blood throughout your body and therefore cannot support your digestive function, with which it has a vital relationship. The result is that you cannot get enough nutrition from the foods you eat. No matter what you put in vitamins, calories, or nutrients if your digestive system is not functioning properly, your body will not be able to extract enough of what it needs to remain strong. As we shall see, this is especially relevant to women undergoing breast cancer treatment.
An energy disorder of the kidney means that the Qi, or life force, of this organ is too weak to function well and provide the right messages and power you need for the activities of everyday life. In other words, your engine is running poorly. Kidney Qi directly influences the health of the hair, the bones, and the body's overall Qi. This is why hair loss and general fatigue affect so many women undergoing energy-destroying breast cancer treatments. Unfortunately, these women have often depleted their kidney Qi through unbalanced and unhealthy lifestyle choices long before they reach the breast cancer treatment stage. These treatments then aggravate their underlying kidney Qi imbalance. TCM has treated patients with kidney Qi disorders naturally and effectively for centuries.
Today in China, many hospitals routinely use TCM therapies in conjunction with Western cancer treatments. The traditional Chinese medical system has had the support of the Chinese government for many centuries. Virtually all hospitals have a department of TCM, even hospitals that offer Western treatments. Both Eastern and Western practitioners in Chinaunderstand and respect the fact that the TCM medical system is skilled at treating women during various stages of breast cancer and beyond.
Recently, the antiestrogenic agent tamoxifen has been introduced into breast cancer treatment regimens. Women who have been through surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, or a combination of treatments, and are taking tamoxifen, already have weakened digestive systems. Premenopausal women who have undergone chemotherapy and are taking tamoxifen may also experience a range of menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, stomach distention, night sweats, constipation, insomnia, heart palpitations, hair loss, dry skin, vaginal dryness, loss of sexual desire, and the like. TCM has effectively treated these kinds of symptoms for thousands of years and can offer real relief in this area. Why do I call these conditions symptoms? We shall see that they are the result of problems or dysfunctions of an organ or organs. Possibly most important, TCM treatments are considered very effective in helping regenerate the immune system so that the patient remains strong enough to complete her breast cancer treatment. It accomplishes this with unique herbal formulas that can increase T cell counts between cancer treatments.
TCM takes a serious interest in a variety of women's health problems that Western medicine may view as routine at best, or may dismiss at worst. Please study the breast cancer progression chart in Chapter 3. This TCM perspective on the root cause and stages of breast cancer has never before been organized and published in the West or East. It looks at how the body and its systems weaken over time and progress toward breast cancer. The length of time that it takes to reach the final stage depends on the condition of each individual's Qi. (Many Western doctors believe that most cancers are in the body eight to ten years before detection.) Let's look at the implications of this:
If you already have a noncancerous breast tumor, or you suffer from breast tenderness, especially during your period, then according to TCM theory, your condition has progressed from a Qi function disorder to a physical problem. Generally speaking, your liver function has become unbalanced and is causing a serious problem. It is also possible that other organs have become unbalanced as well and are contributing to the cause of this breast tumor.
TCM can diagnose which organ has a function disorder from the location of the breast tumor. It can also diagnose Qi or energy blockages from reading your pulses and evaluating other warning signals from your body. (You'll find a list of warning signs to which you should always pay attention in Chapter 8. Please be sure and check to see if you have any.) it is possible to use the ancient wisdom of TCM in this book to restore internal harmony among your five major organs and help Qi flow unobstructed through your meridians. When this stage of good health is reached, TCM states there is no place for disease or illness to enter.TCM: A Woman's Guide to Healing From Breast Cancer. Copyright (c) by Nan Lu . Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.