CHINESE HERBAL MEDICINE MAY EASE CHEMOTHERAPY FOR BREAST CANCER Chinese herbal medicine could protect the immune systems of breast cancer patients from the side effects of chemotherapy. A new Cochrane Systematic Review has found that using Chinese herbs either alone or in conjunction with chemotherapy may help protect a breast cancer patient’s bone marrow and immune system. The review also found that Chinese herbs improve quality of life. As part of the review, scientists working for the Cochrane Collaboration analyzed data from seven randomized studies involving 542 women with breast cancer who were undergoing or had recently undergone chemotherapy. All the studies compared treatment with chemotherapy alone vs. chemotherapy plus a Chinese herb or herbal regimen. Sixty percent of women undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer experience a range of significant short-term side effects. The researchers concluded the trials provided evidence that Chinese herbal treatments can reduce some short-term side effects of chemotherapy, such as fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and bone marrow suppression. “The results suggest that using Chinese herbs in conjunction with chemotherapy or Chinese herbal medicines alone may be beneficial in terms of improvements in bone marrow suppression and immune system, and may improve overall quality of life,” the researchers said. In three studies, women given herbal remedies saw a noticeable improvement in their number of white blood cells-a key element of the immune system, made in bone marrow. Two of the studies indicated herbal compounds appeared to have a general positive effect on quality of life. “Western physicians not trained in traditional Chinese medicine or the use of Chinese medicinal herbs should not dismiss these approaches as being without theory or clinical basis, and should likewise support further studies in the field,” wrote the researchers in the latest issue of the online journal Cochrane Library. Chinese herbal therapy, combined with acupuncture and lifestyle modifications, can effectively treat a variety of conditions. If you have health concerns, call Dr. Richard Browne, Acupuncture Physician, at (305) 595-9500 to schedule a free initial 15-minute consultation.