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Investigating outcomes of integrative medicine vs. symptoms of lung cancer

Researchers from Chang Gung University in Taiwan compared the long-term effect of Western medicine and the combination of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and Western medicine on the prognosis of patients with lung cancer. The results of their study were published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.

  • For this longitudinal study, the researchers recruited 54 patients newly diagnosed with lung cancer and receiving Western medicine as treatment, and 30 patients using a combination of TCM and Western medicine.
  • They measured symptom distress, physical function, and quality of life using the Symptom Distress Scale, Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group-Performance Status Rating, and European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaires (EORTC QLQ-C30 and EORTC QLQ-LC13), respectively.
  • The researchers collected data before treatment and one, three, six, and 12 months after the start of treatment. They then estimated survival using Kaplan-Meier curves and analyzed group differences in outcomes using generalized estimating equations.
  • The researchers reported that, apart from pain and dyspnea, the treatment groups did not differ significantly at baseline for demographic information, disease severity, symptom distress, or questionnaire scores.
  • After adjusting for baseline effects, the combined treatment group had better results for physical function and role function than the Western medicine group six months after the start of treatment.
  • The combined treatment group also had better cumulative survival, although the difference is not significant.

Based on these findings, the researchers concluded that treatment with TCM and Western medicine combined has better long-term effects for lung cancer patients, although comprehensive studies are needed to precisely estimate the long-term effectiveness of this combined treatment on their prognosis.

Journal Reference:

Tang WR, Yang SH, Yu CT, Wang CC, Huang ST, Huang TH, Chiang MC, Chang YC. LONG-TERM EFFECTIVENESS OF COMBINED TREATMENT WITH TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE AND WESTERN MEDICINE ON THE PROGNOSIS OF PATIENTS WITH LUNG CANCER. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 2016;22(3):212–222. DOI: 10.1089/acm.2015.0214

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