I was watching the 5pm news when I came across a news bit mentioning a new study indicating that aspirin may be used as an anti-cancer drug. This peeked my interest and made sense to me according to Chinese Medicine. Here’s what I found and how I think it relates back to Traditional Chinese Medicine.
First a little background: Cancer is an uncontrollable growth of cells within our bodies causing tumours. A tumour begins with one cell that doesn’t respond to the body’s signal to stop replicating and destroy itself (cell apoptosis).This malfunction along with the body’s defence system ( the immune system) not recognizing these cells as a threat results in cancer. Tumours that are undetected continue to grow uncontrollably eventually making its way into the blood stream, becoming malignant, allowing it to spread to other organs.
Now aspirin also known as acetylsalicylic acid is an analgesic (pain reliever), antipyretic (relieves fever), anti-inflammatory and anti-coagulant (blood thinner). Most of us have used this at some point and it is a staple in our medicine cabinets. Low dose aspirin, is one that is being used primarily to treat and prevent heart attacks and now also being suggested to treat and prevent cancer.
Scientists according to the study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute are unsure as to how aspirin prevents cancer but suspect that it “acts by damping down inflammation in the body, or slowing the buildup of mutations in cells that ultimately turn cancerous. The drug appears to slow the spread of cancer around the body by preventing cancer cells from sticking to blood platelets.”(JNCI:2012). The research team at the American Cancer society in Atlanta found that the daily use of low dose aspirin decreases your chance to certain cancers and found that the overall risk of getting cancer drops by 16%. With this note, ensure that you discuss daily use of aspirin with your doctor, aspirin can cause stomach ulcers and bleeding with prolonged use.
It is my opinion that it is the anti-coagulant property that increases blood flow that gives this healing effect. At least this is my opinion based on Chinese Medicine theory.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), cancer or tumors are considered a stagnation or stasis of qi, blood or fluids. It is the blockage of one or a combination of these that are normally free flowing through our meridians (energy pathways). Treatment for cancer according to TCM is to break down accumulation and stagnation and increase circulation. Therefore acupuncture and Chinese herbs are used to increase circulation of blood to help treat and prevent cancer.
Acupuncture has been found to be effective in increasing our body’s blood circulation as well as increase the body’s white blood cell counts (boosting immune system) and decreasing stress levels. All of these components are important in ensuring overall health but more importantly is an effective means of treating and preventing chronic illness. Ensuring that you take regular care of your health by getting regular treatments, helps you feel better and keeps your immune system running optimally. The key to staying healthy!
Herbs can be an excellent way of maintaining your health on a daily basis and many can be found in your food. Turmeric (curcumin), Garlic, Ginger, Onion, Cinnamon, Reishi Mushroom are just some of the ingredients you could take daily to help boost your immune system and increase circulation. Our health is something that we should not take for granted; it should be something that we work on continuously with the food we eat, the stress we bare and the treatments we choose. Consider Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture as a staple in your health regimen. It can keep you health and happy in a natural non-invasive means.
Source: Inside Toronto: Tao of Wellness
Jacobs, E.J. Newton, Christina. Gapstur, Susan. Thun, Micheal. JNCI:Oxford journals.org. Daily Aspirin Use and Cancer Mortalit in a large us Cohort: June 14, 2012