Acupuncture and colon cancer
Colon cancer is the third most common cancer in the United States with about 60,000 deaths from it every year. Like all cancer, treatment can be long, uncomfortable and come with many side effects. Those getting chemotherapy may experience nausea, vomiting, postoperative pain, cancer related pain, insomnia and anxiety. The chronic pain can significantly impact quality of life. Most patients are prescribed medications such as opioids for pain that have side effects and are highly addictive.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine it is believed that colon cancer comes from a number of underlying factors such as spleen yang deficiency, kidney yang deficiency, kidney yin deficiency and liver yin deficiency. Acupuncture works by addressing these deficiencies to return the body back to balance. Using specific points on the body related to these organs, acupuncture stimulates the body’s natural energy flow, Qi, and blood flow to improve organ health.
Going through chemotherapy treatment can cause severe fatigue. One study showed that acupuncture resulted in a 30 percent improvement in a baseline fatigue score.
Insomnia and anxiety are one of the most common symptoms that cancer patients experience. Acupuncture has been proven in numerous studies to be just as effective, if not more, than prescription drugs in improving sleep and decreasing stress and anxiety levels. This alternative treatment has also been shown to improve overall mood.
Acupuncture can help boost the immune system. Chemotherapy can greatly lower the body’s immune defense, leaving one in a vulnerable state due to a decrease in white-blood cell count. By increasing blood flow and stimulating Qi, acupuncture is a great way to improve immune function.
Cancer and cancer treatment is nothing to take lightly. A diagnosis can drastically change one’s life not only physically but mentally as well. If you have been diagnosed with colon cancer and/or going through chemotherapy, it is important to remember that there are alternative, safe treatments that can help make the process easier. If a loved one is going through treatment, support is the best thing you can do for them. March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month and there is no better time to get tested and become educated on the facts.
Five Foods To Avoid For A Healthy Colon
If you want to keep your colon clean it is important your diet reflects that. Optimal colon health is very dependent on what you are or are not putting into your body. There are specific foods that don’t help out your colon at all. Take a look at these five foods you should avoid to make sure your colon is healthy and functioning at its highest possible level.
1. Processed Meats
One of the most important things to avoid if wanting a healthy colon is processed meats, and this can be hard to do. In the food culture we are surrounded by, processed meats are on a regular display. Lots of restaurants and grocery stores are doing a better job of avoiding processed meats now, but it can still be hard to avoid them. You want to make sure you do though, as they have been linked to an increased risk of colon cancer.
Alcohol can be detrimental to your body if you so let it. An increased risk of colon cancer, damage to the digestive tract and liver damage are all risks you take when partaking in heavy consumption of alcohol. So do your colon a favor and limit your intake.
3. Burned or Charred Foods
It is best to utilize cooking methods that decrease the risk for colon injury or cancer. Burning or charring foods creates carcinogens, which can lead to an increased chance of colon cancer. Take care of your foods when barbecuing and avoid eating over blackened or charred areas.
This one is pretty self-explanatory. Don’t eat fast-food. Just do yourself a favor and avoid these foods high in fat, sodium and cholesterol. Help out your colon, pass on the fast-food.
5. Limit Sugar
Diets high in sugar have been shown to increase the chance of colon problems, such as Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis. Sugar has yet to be directly linked to colon cancer, but it is linked to weight gain and obesity.
Patterns of Discrimination for Colon Cancer
Colon cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States. The American Cancer Society estimates 136,000 people will be diagnosed with colon cancer in 2017 and nearly 50,000 of those will actually die from the disease. At least half of the people who develop colon cancer have some sort of existing risk factor. The other half may get colon cancer due to unfavorable diet, lifestyle or habits.
Regardless of the reason, Western medicine typically treats each case the same way. Surgery is the first line of defense, followed by chemotherapy and radiation therapy. All of these tactics can be quite risky and have a multitude of adverse side effects.
Traditional Chinese Medicine treats each person on an individual basis. This means despite the Western medical diagnosis, the patient will receive special individualized care. TCM also differentiates the various causes of colon cancer based on the underlying contributing factors that have created the disease. There are at least four possible different patterns of discrimination for colon cancer in the Chinese medicine world. Each pattern is associated with a specific energetic meridian and organ system, as well as some sort of causative factor, such as damp heat.
The first possible pattern involves the large intestine pathway being invaded by damp heat. With this pattern, the patient may have diarrhea, mucus or blood in the stools; foul smelling stools, a burning anus, fever, sweating, heaviness of the limbs and thirst without a desire to drink. This can be caused by ingesting too many hot and greasy foods, accompanied by excessive worry and anxiety over a long period of time. The treatment would involve clearing the heat and draining the dampness. The patient would also need to make some lifestyle changes.
The next possible pattern involves the spleen energetic pathway. The spleen system does not like cold. Thus, when the system is invaded by constant cooling, the yang or fire becomes depleted. The pattern is known as spleen yang deficiency. Symptoms of spleen yang deficiency include lack of appetite, abdominal distention after eating, fatigue, loose stools with undigested food, cold limbs, chilliness and edema. The treatment would involve warming and boosting the spleen yang.
The third possible pattern involves the kidney system. As with the spleen, when the kidney system is exposed to excessive cold conditions or the yin (water) is excessive, the yang of the kidney system can be depleted. The symptoms of kidney yang deficiency include chills, aversion to cold, cold limbs, apathy, lethargy, weak or cold knees and soreness in the lumbar region. The treatment would involve warming and boosting the kidney yang energy.
The last possible pattern also involves the kidney system, but this time it is the opposite of the aforementioned pattern. Kidney yin deficiency occurs when there is too much fire and not enough water, which creates excess heat. Symptoms of this pattern include hot palms, night sweats, constipation, thirst, sore knees and dark urine. The treatment would involve cooling and sedating the kidney yang, while boosting the kidney yin energy.
No matter what the pattern, acupuncture and TCM can help, provided the diagnosis takes place early. This is why acupuncture should be used in a preventive fashion.
Main Symptoms as They Relate to Colon Cancer Patterns
There are five different diagnostic patterns associated with colon cancer. Each separate diagnostic pattern has its own set of symptoms linked to it. Read below to figure out which main symptoms relate to certain colon cancer diagnostic patterns.
Large Intestine Damp Heat
Abdominal pain, diarrhea, mucus and blood in the stool and heavy sensation in the body and limbs are all signs of Large Intestine Damp Heat.
Spleen Yang Deficiency
Cold limbs, tiredness, pale complexion, weakness of the limbs and loss of appetite are all signs of Spleen Yang Deficiency.
Kidney Yang Deficiency
Spiritual fatigue, declining libido, difficulty in urination, enuresis and general edema are all signs of Kidney Yang Deficiency.
Kidney Yin Deficiency
Afternoon or evening sweats, dry mouth, achy lower back, tinnitus and aching bones are all signs of Kidney Yin Deficiency.
Liver Yin Deficiency
Blurred vision, numbness, brittle nails, vertigo and flank pain are all signs of Liver Yin Deficiency.