Monday, September 24, 2012

LYMPHOMA ON THE RISE IN CHINA

How will the most populated nation on earth deal with the rising number of lymphoma patients? In China, a country with more than 1.3 billion people, the incidence of lymphoma is rising by four percent a year. 

A new epidemiology survey shows that lymphoma - non-Hodgkin's and Hodgkin's - has become the ninth most common cancer among Chinese males on the mainland, according to a report in China Daily.


That's still not quite as high, percentage-wise, as the United States, where lymphoma is the seventh most common cancer in males as well as females. But it is on the increase, and that's cause for concern.

Researchers in China are seeing an especially significant increase in Hodgkin's and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma among young people in urban areas. 

And that will unfortunately continue to rise because of that country's quickly changing lifestyle and increasing pollution, Zhu Jun, a leading lymphoma specialist at Beijing Cancer Hospital, tells China Daily.

To better guide and standardize clinical treatment of the disease, a clinical diagnosis and treatment guideline on lymphoma was issued jointly by the Chinese Society of Hematology under the Chinese Medical Association and the Chinese Anti-Cancer Association late last year.

"With timely and proper treatment, nearly half of the sufferers can be cured," Zhu told China Daily.

To help raise public awareness, a two-month campaign scheduled to tour 15 Chinese cities was launched this month offering people free consultations.

China still deals with lymphoma with a combination of Traditional Chinese Medicine methods and more modern Western treatments.

I've said many times since I was diagnosed with stage IV non-Hodgkin's lymphoma that we can learn a lot from the Chinese - just as they can learn a lot from us. 

I even seriously considered traveling to China when my cancer recurred the first time in 1999. Thankfully, I was saved by Western medicine.

But Chinese herbs, for example, have shown to be very effective for some patients in boosting immune system activity and fighting lymphoma. 

And then there's acupuncture, which of course is a part of the ancient Chinese medical approach. According to Everyday Health, acupuncture is a scientifically proven way of relieving many lymphoma symptoms and side effects of treatment. 

That includes everything from pain, fatigue, depression and nausea to stomach discomfort, immunity levels and more.

For me, battling lymphoma has always been about loading up your arsenal with as many weapons as possible. And that means culling the best from the East and the West. 

The combined use of Western and Chinese medicines in the treatment of lymphoma, and all cancers, bears further investigation in the United States.

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