On September 7, a young actor named Xu Ting died of lymphoma because she gave up chemotherapy and received traditional Chinese medicine treatment before her death, thus causing extensive discussion on Weibo.
Photo Source: Xu Ting’s Microblog
It can be predicted that this will be another fierce debate between Chinese and Western medicine. Both sides of the heated debate hold different opinions, and no one can convince anyone. At the end of the argument, everyone wiped a handful of spitting stars from their lips and went back to their homes to find other topics to talk about.
There will be similar situations in the future. The arguments and tragedies will remain the same.
Should we also reflect on it?
Everyone has birth, old age, illness and death, and it is indeed unfortunate to suffer from serious illness at such a young age. However, for Xu Ting, she is not only unfortunate, but also a tragedy-because she may not have to.
This [needn’t have been] is not to say that her disease is mild. According to the pathological report, it may be peripheral T cell lymphoma. This is a highly malignant tumor. Even with combined chemotherapy, the lowest-risk type has a 5-year survival rate of 74%, while for high-risk patients, the 5-year survival rate is only 6%.
Diseases with such a high degree of malignancy will first give people a devastating psychological blow. Some people lament why Xu Ting refused to accept chemotherapy. But in my opinion, this is a very understandable thing.
Think about it, the degree of malignancy of the disease is so high that even if you receive chemotherapy according to medical standards, it may be difficult to last too long. The price to be paid for this includes the high cost of chemotherapy and the painful side effects brought about after several rounds of chemotherapy-even if life can be continued, it is more like a kind of suffering. Between the length of life and the quality of life, many people choose the latter, which is also the reason why many people give up routine and effective treatment.
Therefore, I fully understand Xu Ting’s decision on chemotherapy, which cannot be called a tragedy, but can only be said that different people have chosen their own lives. However, even if she gives up chemotherapy, it does not mean that she will leave in such pain. This is what I said earlier [tragedy] and is where we need to reflect.
Alternative Therapy for Malignant Tumors
Here we really want to mention the position of traditional Chinese medicine in the treatment of malignant tumors. In foreign formal medical professional materials, there is not no content of traditional Chinese medicine-traditional Chinese medicine is classified as Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM).
First of all, Even in the formal medical profession abroad, For alternative medical treatment of malignant tumors, Nor does it hold a [absolute opposition] attitude, but suggests to adopt an open mind. For some case reports that the disease has improved after substitution therapy, it is not totally denied. It is all attributed to placebo effect, but it is not recommended as a professional until high-quality evidence is obtained to prove it.
More importantly, Even abroad, Many doctors have also found that Too strongly opposed to alternative medicine, It is not conducive to the development of good doctor-patient communication, Therefore, the recommended scheme recommended by foreign authoritative databases to doctors is to inform the ineffectiveness of alternative medicine and evaluate the safety of alternative therapy schemes, so that patients can knowingly choose to receive alternative therapy without suffering additional injuries as much as possible.
Therefore, it is very important to evaluate alternative medical methods. I have mentioned this evaluation many times in the past, and it is necessary to emphasize it again. The evaluation includes:
Assess the potential hazards of treatment, including direct hazards to the body and indirect hazards, such as delayed treatment, huge diagnosis and treatment costs, etc.
Assess the potential benefits. This benefit includes many levels. Even if it can only enhance patients’ confidence, it is reasonable to apply this treatment in the absence of evidence that it has potential harm.
Evaluate the implementation system, that is, whether there is a neutral organization to carry out inspection and quality control for the products and therapists providing treatment, whether the technical level of therapists has training and corresponding admission licenses, etc.
Evaluate whether it can be integrated into the overall treatment plan. That is to say, the alternative treatment method to be provided, Is it compatible with other treatment systems and is it allowed to accept other treatment methods at the same time? For example, if some Chinese medicine practitioners claim that they can only use his medicine or his method instead of Western medicine, then it is better not to choose this method.
Among these assessments, the first is the assessment of potential hazards. Judging from the situation experienced by Xu Ting, this aspect is obviously not in place.
For example, on Weibo, she received some pictures of traditional Chinese medicine treatment. Even as a professional doctor, I was shocked by those bloody and cruel scenes.
Xu Ting chose to give up chemotherapy because he was afraid of the pain of chemotherapy. However, judging from the treatment methods of traditional Chinese medicine, the degree of pain is no less than that of chemotherapy. Although chemotherapy cannot guarantee 100% cure, at least its effectiveness can be known. However, the treatment methods accepted by Xu Ting could not prove their effectiveness at all, but caused her real pain.
Moreover, for a lymphoma patient, A common infection may bring about a catastrophe, And those treatments, Trauma to the body significantly increases the risk of infection, These are all insufficient. Therefore, even if you have an open mind to alternative therapy, after evaluating the harm of these treatments, you should clearly and firmly oppose patients to receive such treatment-not against traditional Chinese medicine or alternative therapy, but against this method that is harmful to the body but has no evidence to prove effective.
Based on the above-mentioned evaluation method, before planning to accept alternative medicine to treat cancer, some medical questions are raised to help make better decisions by answering these questions.
As the general public, if they really want to use alternative medicine to treat malignant tumors, it is best to ask themselves these questions before using those alternative therapies. These questions include:
- Does using this method require you to stop the routine treatment of cancer? If so, please give up this method. (Conventional treatment here refers to proven effective treatment methods, such as surgery or radiotherapy and chemotherapy) Is this method hostile to conventional treatment methods for cancer? If so, please give up this method. Does this method claim to cure cancer? If so, please give up this method. Is this method provided by some introduced [magic doctors] or certified therapists? If it is the former, please give up this method. Does this method have some mystery and cannot be shared with others? If so, please give up this method. Is this method expensive? If you need to lose everything for treatment, the wisest choice is to give up this method. Is this method difficult to obtain? For example, do you need to cross oceans, or do you need to meet many difficult conditions? If so, please give up this method.
On the Supervision of Traditional Chinese Medicine
Among the above-mentioned evaluation contents, a very important one is the need to carry out quality control and supervision on therapists providing alternative medical services.
After all, human life is a matter of life. You can’t just pat your head and come up with a way to claim that this is a [secret recipe handed down from the ancestors] and you can treat cancer. This is exactly the biggest problem of traditional Chinese medicine in China-lack of supervision!
As mentioned earlier, I do not oppose the existence of traditional Chinese medicine, but traditional Chinese medicine must be strictly managed. As long as it is related to medicine, there cannot be [places outside the law].
However, too many of us believe that [experts are in the folk]. We are always worried that supervision and quality control will hit folk Chinese medicine. As a result, the Government has repeatedly issued articles and the threshold for Chinese medicine has been lowered.
We are now concerned about traditional Chinese medicine, It is not too strict, but too loose. Therefore, on the one hand, we need to carry out strict qualification examination for practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine. We cannot casually hang the name of [traditional Chinese medicine] and claim to be [doctors]. At the same time, the scope of application of traditional Chinese medicine in medicine should be strictly restricted to guide the public to accept effective treatment methods verified by medical professionals.
About Palliative Care
As mentioned earlier, many people choose to give up conventional tumor treatment because they do not want to live too painfully in the last period of their lives. They would rather give up the length of their lives than leave with dignity. However, unfortunately, there are too few services available in China to achieve [leaving with dignity].
Soothing medicine, At least ten years ago, when I was in medical school, I haven’t seen it-I haven’t learned it, I haven’t even heard it. I didn’t get a general understanding until I did a program on soothing medicine in [Imperial Doctor Comes] a year ago. Obviously, Xu Ting didn’t enjoy such medical services at the end of her life.
Judging from Xu Ting’s microblog, From the pathological results, By the time she died, Only about 2 months. For Xu Ting, even if she chooses to give up chemotherapy, it does not mean that she has chosen to be negative. If she can receive soothing medical treatment, she can leave peacefully at the end of her life without experiencing those tortures-she could have really not experienced those sufferings that life is better than death.
In fact, soothing medicine is not only analgesic or symptomatic treatment, but also many alternative medical methods are used in soothing medicine abroad. For example, diet adjustment can relieve nausea and vomiting. Or music therapy, breathing exercises or yoga to relax and improve sleep; Or massage or use some fragrance to relieve anxiety.
These methods are indeed difficult to obtain evidence to verify their effectiveness, but what is certain is that they are harmless and will not cost a lot of money. As long as the patient believes that he can obtain the ideal quality of life from them, then they are methods that can be tried.
However, unfortunately, China is too backward in terms of soothing medical care. We have only a few kinds of medical insurance drugs that can be used to relieve cancer pain.
Many patients with advanced tumors, holding the mentality of “dead horse as living horse doctor”, rushed to the hospital everywhere. After various treatment methods, they took out all their savings and eventually died in pain.
Therefore, in the absence of a complete non-governmental organization, we can only hope that the Government can increase its investment in soothing medical care, so that patients with advanced tumors can really walk the last leg of their lives with dignity.
May the dead rest in peace and hope the above content can be helpful to the living.