Sunday, March 1, 2015

Renowned Chinese-American Doctor Joins Global Effort to Heal Lymphoma Cancer Patients

Dr. Helen Hu
If there were more doctors like Helen Hu, the world would be a better and certainly healthier place. With her vast experience in both Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and modern Western medicine, Hu represents the future of all medicine, which inevitably will embrace the best from both of these disparate but essential worlds.

Raised in a traditional family in Beijing, Hu came to America nearly 25 years ago with a dream of introducing Americans to TCM, which she's studied since since she was 12. Hu, whose medical practice is in San Diego, was taught by several TCM masters who inspired her and helped her establish a strong foundation. She also gained invaluable experience at an early age by treating local farmers and villagers in the rural countryside during China's Cultural Revolution that began in 1966.

After high school, Hu shifted gears and studied Western medicine at China's prestigious Hebei Medical School, where she was able to fuse her background in TCM with the principles of the modern world. Of course, that did nothing but greatly enhance her medical technique and her ability to help patients. Hu looks at the root cause of any health condition and brings the best of both Eastern and Western disciplines, and a large dose of compassion, to her patients. And yes, I am one of them. 

Hu is also an acclaimed author whose remarkable new book, Chinese Food Therapy Rx for Self Healing (Volume I) and Chinese Food Therapy Rx for Longevity and Beauty (Volume II), provides hundreds of recipes to promote well being and beauty based on thousands of years of wisdom. The book is unquestionably the most comprehensive and pioneering work I've read in terms of educating the public about natural healing with food, and coaching people to achieve the ultimate goal of longevity and a healthy mind, body and spirit. Yes, folks, listen to Dr. Hu: Food really can save your life and even fight and prevent cancer.

Lymphoma On The Rise In China
Hu's vast knowledge of China's healthcare system and its people, as well as her awareness of modern advances in cancer treatment, will be of great value to me as we begin the next phase of my professional life: to inform and inspire lymphoma patients and their families in China and then, subsequently, worldwide. It's a profound and rather daunting mission, but it's something for which I believe I am qualified. For the past 15 years I've been a global lymphoma patient advocate. I've spoken to and informed and hopefully inspired thousands of cancer patients and their families, including people in China and around the world.

I can tell you with certainty that the Chinese people are hungry for more knowledge when it comes to diseases such as cancer. I can also tell you that, from what I have seen, healthcare professionals in China, including oncologists, are just as eager to get this information to the Chinese people. As I mentioned on this news blog recently, the incidence of lymphoma, the type of cancer I've battled for the last 18 years, is increasing by more than six percent each year in China. The person who has shared this information with the media is Dr. Zhu Jun, director of the Beijing Cancer Hospital's lymphoma department. 

But this information still isn't widely known among the Chinese people, who are very familiar with certain types of cancer including lung cancer, but not so much with lymphoma (Hodgkin's and non-Hodgkin's). Jun told the South China Morning Post that knowledge of lymphoma even among many doctors in China is minimal. And I just want to change that. And apparently so do China's leading doctors.

A recent epidemiology survey concluded that lymphoma is now the ninth most common cancer among Chinese males on the mainland. That's still not quite as high as the United States, where lymphoma is the seventh most common cancer in males and females. But it is increasing rapidly, and that's cause for concern. 

Much of the future lymphoma research in China will and should revolve around lymphoma. Researchers are seeing an especially significant and alarming increase in the disease among China's young people in urban areas. Lymphoma experts in China attribute that largely to environmental pollution. And that's not a surprise. As I reported for Newsweek, China's air remains dangerously polluted, especially in Beijing and other major cities.

The Project's First Phase
A cancer diagnosis is overwhelming and frightening. But it can also be challenging in a positive way and even enlightening and uplifting, especially if you are aware of all your treatment options. A cancer diagnosis certainly makes you appreciate the precious gift that is your life and the loving family and friends who we should never take for granted.

My goal is to spread this simple but vital message of hope and knowledge globally. The project begins by sharing information with the Chinese people via the existing healthcare operations and organizations in China, as well as exporting China's vast knowledge of both TCM and modern medicine to the rest of the world.

Our hope is that this project simply facilitates a new conversation in China about lymphoma.

The first phase will include the distribution of translated editions of both of my books, Hope Begins in the Dark and Snowman on the Pitcher's Mound, in China. The "Hope" book, which chronicles the lives of 40 lymphoma survivors, will be updated to include the life stories of lymphoma survivors in China.

The project is also in the process of building and designing smartphone APPS for China's cancer patients and their families that will 

The project will also include the distribution of information to lymphoma patients in China and their families telling them about the disease and about currently available as well as forthcoming treatments, both from the pharmaceutical side and the TCM side.

The project is working with China government officials, several of the top cancer hospitals in China and the U.S., internationally known oncologists and lymphoma researchers, pharmaceutical and biotech companies in China and the U.S., healthcare and environmental companies, and highly-regarded nonprofit organizations. 

The latter include the Confucius Institute at San Diego State University and the Asian Heritage Society, an educational and philanthropic nonprofit organization based in San Diego

Helen Hu's Work to Merge East and West
My partnership with Dr. Hu and others will ideally lead to positive outcomes for patients in China and around the world. I just want to help people who are suffering and have a desire to learn more about their options and about ways of coping when you receive a cancer diagnosis.

The other simple but powerful message I want to send is that it is imperative moving forward that we embrace all sides of medicine, from what is currently looked upon in some circles as "traditional" to what is currently looked upon in some circles as "alternative." Whatever works is what I want in my regimen. I've beaten back stage IV cancer three times in the last two decades with this philosophy.

Many doctors in America still turn their noses up at anything holistic or not drug-based. Many absurdly dismiss any and all herbs and supplements because they are not monitored by the FDA. But those days are changing. American doctors like Hu and, to some degree, my doctors at the University of California San diego -- some of them, anyway -- thankfully embrace both sides of this divide. And more will, soon. The writing is on the wall. 

While practicing Western medicine in China for nearly a decade, Hu became chairman of the Department of Cardiology at Hebei Hospital, as well as the president of the Hebei Young Physicians’ Association. After arriving in the States in 1991, she began conducting clinical research on Cancer and other autoimmune diseases, and also become involved in a variety of clinical trials that were published in several renowned academic journals. 

In 1997 she passed the USMLE (United States Medical License Exams) and subsequently began to formally study the practice of Chinese medicine. Hu graduated with a degree in Oriental Medicine (OMD) at South Baylo University and became a licensed acupuncturist and herbalist on both the National and State of California Boards of Acupuncture and Herbology.

In ancient times, Hu says, people lived closer to nature, in more integrated communities. Over thousands of years, through observation and by surviving many diseases and natural disasters, they "discovered how various foods promoted longevity and well being. Many of these longevity-promoting foods and herbs have been recorded in the history of Chinese medicine. Since food and herbs come from the same source, the principle of healing power in the herbs applies to the whole nature of food."

New Cancer Treatments and Studies in China
Hu's goal is to "educate and guide her readers to choose the right foods and treatments from TCM and Western medicine." That's our goal, too. It is significant that despite the lack of awareness of lymphoma among many of China's people and even many of its doctors, China has recently established a number of interesting partnerships with United States drug companies to fight lymphoma, and other cancers, with new, less toxic drugs as well as with aspects of TCM:

ChinaBioToday reports that Cellular Biomedicine Group (CBMG), a joint China-US cell therapy company, has acquired a cancer immunotherapy technology from the Chinese PLA General Hospital in Beijing. This will lead to further development in China of this therapy, which has shown great promise in early trials for Hodgkin's lymphoma as well as acute lymphoblastic leukemia and advanced lung cancer. 

* The Beijing Cancer Hospital I mentioned above, which is one of the largest cancer research and treatment centers in China, is establishing partnerships with such prestigious American cancer institutions as MD Anderson Cancer Center and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

* Innovent, one of China's largest biotechs, is studying eight antibody products, including one for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. 

* Casi Pharmaceuticals, a US-based bio-pharmaceutical company, is focused on meeting the unmet needs of cancer patients in China with several treatments, including Zevalin, a very effective radio-immunotherapy treatment for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. As I reported here recently, Casi has announced that it is bringing Zevalin to China. 

* And as China Economic Net recently reported, two Chinese scientists, Wang Zhenyi and Chen Zhu, won a top U.S. award recently by the U.S. National Foundation for Cancer Research for creating a remarkable new treatment that combines Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) with Western medicine. The new therapy increased the five-year survival rate of patients with acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) from 25 percent to 95 percent. In clinical trials, the Chinese researchers showed that arsenic trioxide, which has been used in TCM regimens for more than 2,000 years, is effective against APL. The treatment is now a standard for APL treatment around the world, China Economic Net reported, and "has turned one of the most fatal diseases into a highly curable one."

These and other studies show that China is becoming a real player in the global treatment of cancer, both with TCM and with modern Western-style medicine. The country clearly has one foot firmly planted now in the world of modern healthcare. But the other foot remains ensconced in its ancient healing traditions. And that's a good thing. 

We can learn a lot from China's ancient healing methods, and its modern medical ventures. And China and its 1.3 billion people can of course learn much from us. That is the future of medicine. Working together with some of the oldest and newest ways of healing. Many more people will be saved.


  1. Find Chinese Medicine Schools in the United States and Canada. Students, who are seeking an alternative education and would like to gain knowledge and skills to become part of the lucrative field of Chinese medicine, may opt to enroll in one of many Chinese medicine schools.

    Students enrolled in Chinese medicine schools will learn that Chinese medicine is over 2000 years old, and is an ancient form of medicine. Consisting of acupuncture, moxibustion (moxibustion - using material made up of "moxa-wool," in a form of a cone or stick; moxibustion is used to treat and prevent disease by applying heat to pints or certain locations of the human body), herbal medicine, acupressure, cupping, therapeutic exercise and nutrition; traditional Chinese medicine schools are notated by their principle teachings of internal balance and harmony, or "chi," (life force) regulation through energy channels.

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  2. The road to the healing of cancer is paved with many natural options for you to incorporate into a new lifestyle. Yes there is some effort involved, but it can also be an enjoyable process as you journey back to health and release old paradigms. Many of the emotional and mental components can be addressed through the use of daily relaxation and guided imagery.

  3. Bravo, Dr. Hu!!! I am so proud of you and your work and so grateful to be your patient. Cynthia

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