Cancer is a family of malignant tumors, characteristic of abnormal generation of tissues in internal organs.
In terms of clinical manifestations, a mass or lump grows bigger and bigger in size, uneven, hard. When it comes to the patient’s symptoms, he may feel pain, have a fever, together with bad appetite, weakness, and loss of weight as the days go by.
The understanding of a tumor in human body started thousands of years ago as we can see evidence in the oracle bone scripts. The Inner Cannon of the Yellow Emperor describes the symptoms as “the big bones become dry; the muscle collapses; the chest feels a stagnation of air flow; the patient has difficulty in breathing; his internal pain reaches to shoulders; the patient feels hot in his body; his bones look to be separated from bones; his internal organs seem apparent from outside. This patient must die within 10 months.”
The ancient classics also describes symptoms of a bowel cancer, “it’s like hemorrhoid. The anus wall is like bamboo knots or jellyfish；stool is thin and tender flat；stool water smells bad; the patient always feels feces remaining after stool. There is no care. “
These are the common symptoms of cancer. The causes vary. But it’s sure there is an imbalance of yin and yang, depression, damage of organs, etc. The stagnation of qi (energy flow) causes the block of blood flow. Over time, there is an accumulation of mass.
When it comes to treatment, TCM has many historical records, talking about the methods. Generally speaking, there are interior and exterior ways, single formula and compound formulas, using herbs or surgery. To sum up the main treatment options, there are four tactics: attack, ablate, dissipate, and nutritionize.
In a battle, we use weapons to attack the enemy; the blacksmith melts the metal with intense heat, or removes something by erosion or vaporization; similar to that, dissipation makes the tumor disappear by consuming, dissolving or passing away with stool. We use tonic herbs like ginseng to help our immune system to build a strong defense, that’s nutrition.
Cancer is a kind of disease that affects the whole body. It is difficult to cure because it starts in one place but relates to other parts of the body. There must be an overall consideration of interactions. TCM treatments are based on the principle of supporting the positive factors to beat the negative factors. It’s a battle of the righteousness against the evils.
In modern times, the combined therapies of TCM and Western Medicine will deliver better results. When proper methods are applied to different stages of the disease, we will see better improvement of the patient’s health.
In term of pathogenesis or pathology, when we look into the origin and development of the disease, its biological mechanism, maybe by way of analysis of tissue, cell or body liquids samples, we come to know more about its causes, mechanisms of development, structural alterations of cells and the consequences of clinical changes.
In TCM, we have found out the main causes to be weakness of internal qi or energy, contamination with toxin, depression, damage by bad diet, and chronic disease. All these make the organs malfunction, the flow of blood, qi, and liquids abnormal, a stagnation of them, congestion of blood, phlegm, dampness, or heat toxin. These developments work together to form the cancer.
The causes can be defined into five categories:
1, Inhale of polluted air, chemicals or radiation;
2, Depression as a result of anger, worry, sorrow, fear, shock, hatred or desires.
3, Bad diet like too hot or spicy foods, alcohol, smoking, etc.
4, Chronic disease and improper treatments, old trouble left over by internal injuries, etc.
5, Ageing, old age or long years of hard work weakening the body.
At the primary state, apparent symptoms are stagnation of energy (qi) flow, blockage of blood, congestion of phlegm, accumulation of dampness or heat. As the tumor develops, mass can be detected by screening, there shall be weakness of qi and blood, abnormal yin and yang, and conditions are becoming complicated. Different kinds of cancer shall show different symptoms. We need to look into each separately.
Again, cancer is a family of common disease. We are going to talk about the most common the following days like the brain cancer, lung cancer, liver caner, bowel cancer, kidney cancer and bladder cancer. And I hope my understanding will help those with symptoms of these diseases.
Talk to you later.