Strengthening the body for chemo?


Question from JTLEML: I was diagnosed at Stage IV and have been receiving chemotherapy non-stop for almost 20 months. Although I am tolerating treatment well, I worry about the toll that the chemotherapy itself will eventually take. What suggestions do you have for strengthening my body and enhancing the therapeutic effects of the chemotherapy?
Answers - Raymond Chang There may be some traditional Chinese herbs that can help with these. There are a lot of different Chinese herbal formulas used in China and Japan called Kampo remedies. Doctors use these concurrently with chemotherapy in their patients in order to reduce the side effects and perhaps enhance the treatment. It depends on the particular chemotherapeutic agent.

Adriamycin, for example, can be enhanced by certain ingredients from tea such as theanine. Japanese researchers have looked at combining theanine from tea (green tea or regular tea) with certain chemotherapies and found that its therapeutic efficacy is increased.

Again it depends what the patient is receiving. The regimen should be tailored to the actual agent because the side effects are different. If the patient is getting Taxol over a long period of time and is suffering from neuropathy, or has hand-foot syndrome (a skin condition that effects hands and feet from prolonged Xeloda treatment), it could be a different regimen or items used for that. One needs to see what therapy the patient is on and what complications we are worried about over time in order to design appropriate protective regimens.

On Wednesday, September 21, 2005, our Ask-the-Expert Online Conference was called Traditional Chinese MedicineRaymond Chang, M.D. and moderator Beth Baughman Dupree, M.D., F.A.C.S. answered your questions about how to discuss Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) with your cancer doctor.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

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