news on '$2.8m TCM centre at SGH from Nov'' and 'Meeting of East and
West in research'' (ST, Oct 20), moved me to tears.
The great moment - my hope for the day when our local public
medical institutions/hospitals can support the use of both Chinese
and Western medicine in the treatment of cancer is likely to come
As the founder of Cancerstory.com, a volunteers' initiative, I
strongly feel that cancer patients should not be deprived of a
chance to survive if medical science cannot help them.
In reality, there are some patients who are already 'sentenced to
death' by their medical doctors but who have survived cancer after
receiving some form of safe and reliable complementary treatment
such as TCM.
TCM treatments have been shown to help relieve symptoms and
improve the quality of life by lessening the side effects of
conventional treatments and providing psychological and physical
benefits to the patients.
Many cancer patients feel that no doctor will be pleased to learn
of alternative life-saving antidotes that may threaten the
'supremacy' of Western medicine. When things go wrong, the doctors
are also likely to put the blame on any form of complementary
methods that their patients might be receiving alongside
As a result, some
patients decided to hide the fact that they were taking Chinese
medicine even in instances when they were coping and progressing
well during conventional treatment. Some doctors were amazed at the
good results, but failed to discover the truth - that is, the
efficacy of Chinese medicine.
However, I always encourage cancer patients to be truthful to
their doctors. Lack of communication about TCM treatment and dietary
supplements creates an information gap between doctors and patients
that may result in poor cancer management.
Let's hope that the collaboration goes smoothly. To me, it will
be the greatest gift to people living with cancer in the Remaking of
Singapore - receiving true comprehensive cancer care and equal
opportunities to fight cancer in their own stride.
If this happens, cancer patients no longer need to be concerned
if TCM clashes with conventional treatment when treated by the 'East
Meet West'' specialists in SGH.
Many cancer patients will no longer need to fork out hefty sums
to consume expensive 'healing mushrooms'' such as lingzhi, yunzhi,
maitake and agaricus.
A competent TCM practitioner/specialist is unlikely to treat
cancer using an expensive single herb prescription.
Lee Soh Hong (Miss)