Breast Cancer Radiotherapyaccording to TCM

What is Breast Cancer Radiotherapy?

Breast Cancer Radiotherapy refers to the medical use of targeted radiation to destroy or damage cancer cells in the breast. This treatment aims to eliminate cancerous growths, prevent recurrence, and maximize the chances of survival and recovery.

Radiotherapy can be administered externally, where radiation is directed at the breast from a machine, or internally, through brachytherapy where radioactive sources are placed inside the patient. Commonly used as an adjunct to surgery, it may also be applied before surgery to shrink tumors or after to eliminate residual disease.

How Does TCM View Breast Cancer Radiotherapy?

From a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) standpoint, Breast Cancer Radiotherapy is seen as a heat-inducing therapy that can affect the body's Qi and Blood balance. TCM does not have a direct equivalent for radiotherapy but understands its effects through the lens of Qi, Blood, Yin, and Yang disruption.

It posits that while radiotherapy targets the Cancer, it also weakens the Qi and may injure the Yin, leading to a Deficiency that must be addressed to restore balance and health.

Causes of Breast Cancer Radiotherapy According to TCM

TCM interprets the side effects of Breast Cancer Radiotherapy as the result of Qi and Blood Deficiency, which can be exacerbated by the therapy's heating nature. This aligns with patterns of Disharmony that TCM seeks to harmonize.

For instance, radiotherapy might lead to Dryness due to Yin Deficiency, manifesting as dry mouth or skin, or to Qi Deficiency resulting in fatigue. The goal in TCM is to identify and treat these underlying imbalances, often with a combination of herbs, acupuncture, and lifestyle adjustments.

TCM Herbal Formulas for Breast Cancer Radiotherapy

In addressing the side effects of radiotherapy in Breast Cancer patients, TCM practitioners may recommend formulas that nourish Blood and fortify Qi. An example is Dang Gui Yin Zi, which utilizes the harmonizing properties of Japanese Catnip to manage Blood Deficiency and External Wind.

This formula is part of a broader strategy to bolster the patient's constitution, support recovery, and mitigate the harsh effects of radiotherapy by nourishing Yin and Blood, and ensuring the smooth flow of Qi throughout the body.

See more details below about Dang Gui Yin Zi, a herbal formula used to address breast cancer radiotherapy.

  • By Formula Type
  • Formulas that dredge and disperse external wind

TCM Herbs for Breast Cancer Radiotherapy

Explore below some TCM herbs used to address breast cancer radiotherapy, organized by herb category.

  • By Herb Category
  • Warm/Acrid herbs that release the exterior

"Warm/Acrid herbs that release the Exterior" recommended for breast cancer radiotherapy

Herb Formulas they belong to (if applicable)
Japanese Catnip (Jing Jie) Dang Gui Yin Zi
Saposhnikovia Roots (Fang Feng) Dang Gui Yin Zi