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ST Forum

ST Forum
October 27, 2007 Saturday
TCM centre at SGH a boon to cancer patients
THE 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 true.

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 conventional treatment.

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)

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