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.
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.
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.
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.
Breast cancer radiotherapy can be treated by these formulas when it results from external wind invasion disrupting the body's surface and normal function, requiring wind-dispersing actions.
Explore below some TCM herbs used to address breast cancer radiotherapy, organized by herb category.
Breast cancer radiotherapy can be treated by these herbs when there is a need to dispel external cold and warm the body, especially in cases where there is insufficient Yang energy internally.
Other herbs of this category are listed in the table below.