Treating Liver Cancer in China


Research question: What is the significance of Sun Yut-Sen’s diagnosis and treatment method for liver cancer on the Chinese people?

In order to respond to the research question, one must look at examples such as Sun Yut-Sen since he is a public figure whose diagnosis with liver cancer had an impact on the people of China. The setting of the essay is based on the early 20th century as this was when Sun was diagnosed and treated with liver cancer. The paper applies the following research question: Sun was a founder of the Republic of China, and he was the first president of the government of China from the year 1992. He was also a leader of the Chinese republican revolution. Besides, he was philosopher, writer, calligrapher, revolutionists and most importantly a medical doctor. Sun Yut-Sen lived between the year 1866 and 1925 when he died from liver cancer.

Sun was diagnosed with liver cancer which was believed to be the primary cause of his death. Dr. Adrian Taylor performed surgery on him and revealed that his liver was highly infected (Bergere, Marie & Lloyd, 1998). He was treated with radium while staying in the hospital. After some time, Sun was told that he had only ten days to live. Later on, Sun was moved by his friends and associates against the advice of the hospital authorities to Kuomintang where he was treated with the Chinese traditional medicine.  Therefore, this was against his wish also because he was a modernist, but with the situation at hand, he did not have any other choice but to try his luck. Hu Hish, a famous leader of the New Culture Movement at that time, recommended his physician Lu Zhong’an to Sun. This particular physician had helped Hu with his diabetic problem by the use of a Chinese drug called astragalus. With Sun, Chinese medicine did not help him as his condition got worse making weaker and weaker since he was unable to eat. Consequently, people developed a negative attitude towards Chinese medicine since they believed that it was not effective in curing diseases. They felt disappointed in their leader who had taken the wrong path of his treatment.

On March 12, 1925, Sun Yut-Sen passed on. His death was reported all over Chinese media like Chinese newspaper, Time magazine and the New York Times. In a wooden coffin, his body was placed and covered by a blanket and was moved from the Koo residence to PUMCH.  Sun Flo, the son to the late was present when an autopsy was performed. Since the family had stated that no part of the body should be removed; only a small section of the tissue was taken (Zhou et al., 1988). Military generals were also present. The family organized Christian funeral service at the auditorium of the PUMCH (Bergere, Marie & Lloyd, 1998).

Sun is an essential figure in Chinese history and particularly in the 20th century. He is regarded as the founding father as he plays a crucial role in overthrowing the Qing dynasty and thereby being recognized as a national hero. He is a revolutionary who propelled China into a new era of sociopolitical development.He further advanced a government model that was grounded on the principles of democracy, nationalism, and welfare.

The controversy behind Sun’s Treatment Choice and Impact on People’s Decision Making

The controversy surrounding the choice to seek traditional Chinese medicine is primarily due to the political and ideological changes occurring in China at the time. Modern China was founded at the time, and the core foundation of modernity was science which enormously conflicted with the traditional Chinese way of life. Given that Sun is the father of modern China, and he advanced western political ideologies and medical practices then science was his way of life. Additionally, he was a trained doctor who understood medicine from a scientific perspective. Therefore, accepting to receive traditional Chinese medicine seemed contrary to the scientific values he believed in and promoted. Towards the end of his life, Sun made an impacting decision that portrayed his position with regards to traditional Chinese medicine. Additionally, his stand to accept Chinese medicine when on the verge of losing his life to liver cancer was very symbolic considering that he practised western medicine. In his most vulnerable moment, the father of the nation chose to accept Chinese medicine which was interpreted as a symbol to his belief in the practice and therefore contradicting with his modernity belief. As such there was great concern among the observers who had interest in the unfolding vents of his life.

After Sun had accepted to take traditional Chinese medicine, a significant concern rose from the observers. According to Lu Xun, president Sun failed him by agreeing to be treated by conventional Chinese medicine. He less expected Sun, who had impressed modernity and also studied biomedicine to accept to be treated with medication that lacked proper diagnosis. The public felt betrayed by the notion of modernity.Given that people were embracing the idea of modernity, the choice to seek traditional forms of treatment over western medical care seemed like resisting modernity or a modification to the very principles of the foundation of modern China. As such it seemed like a wrong move since it contradicts the philosophy advanced by the leader.

Additionally, the controversy arose as science was viewed as modernity and consequently causing a struggle over Chinese medicine. The perception of beholding modern China in light of the structure of science as modernity led to Chinese medicine appearing as one of the most significant opposites of science as such the two were not combinable. Hence, by Sun choosing to receive Chinese treatment after western medicine failed he demonstrated a combination of two contrasting ideas contrary to people’s expectations.

In the same hospital of Peking Union Medical College, another similar event occurred. James Reston, a New York Times journalist, who traveled to China in the line of work underwent an emergency appendectomy. A team of medical specialists dealt with his case by performing a surgery that was successful. Afterward, Reston experienced severe pain. The use of the acupuncture eliminated this pain. He, later on, reported the experience he had on the effectiveness of acupuncture. In this report, he revealed that Chinese medicine is a combination of ancient medicine and very new. After the death of Sun, Chinese medicine had been considered parallel to modernity, but with the acupuncture, their medicine was viewed as modern in its unique way and kind. This is because the medication was able to eliminate severe postsurgical pain. In most western countries, acupuncture was not known after Reason’s report, and many countries including the United States went ahead to explore the medicine.

For several years, Chinese medicine was no longer viewed as traditional but instead was adopted by several countries in the whole world. At the same time, China was in the position of accessing modern health care services. A primary healthcare system that could serve 90% of Chinas population had been established When Reston was publishing his report which made other nations envious of China. Chinese medicine went through its historical transformation in the process of the global expansion of modern medicine.

Other Figures that Died Liver Cancer

Liu Xiaobo is a human rights activist who died of liver cancer when in prison. The Chinese government revealed that the activist had liver cancer, but his condition was advanced at the time. He was denied a permit to seek medical attention outside the country as his health was deteriorating. He passed on in 2017 when the condition worsened, and he suffered multiple organ failure. His supporters alleged that he fell terribly ill due to lack of treatment and early cancer detection while in prison. Lodi Gyari was a US-based foreign minister that focused on building a strong relationship and support for Tibetan from Washington. As he was the Tibetan spiritual leader, he heavily participated in negotiations with China. The leader died at the age of 69 from liver cancer while undergoing treatment. The two are among the notable leaders associated with China who died of liver cancer.

Chinese Citizens Decision in Medicine When Diagnosed with Liver Cancer

Traditional Chinese medicine was often used by many people when diagnosed with liver cancer. Some used both therapy and Chinese medicine, and others stack to Chinese medicine. Traditional Chinese medicine was discovered many years ago at the reign of Sun Yut-Sen. Before Sun Yut-sen died after being diagnosed with cancer, he demanded that he should be given Chinese medicine. Although he did not survive, at least he set a roadmap of looking into the medication and their efficiency. After a lot of study and research were made, it was concluded that indeed the medicine was efficient and had got fewer side effects. In addition to that, it could prevent liver cancer, unlike western medicine. There were a lot of critics with the medication by the western medical practitioners, but it still emerged efficiently. It does not only cure cancer but some other killer diseases like diabetes and asthma that western medicine cannot heal.

Despite the argument that Chinese medicine lacked scientific evidence, its practitioners were able to show that indeed it has substantial evidence. Liver cancer for so many years has been seen as a killer disease. The most common type of liver cancer for many years was hepatocellular carcinoma. This type of cancer has been shared in China and other dependent countries. Factors responsible for liver cancer have always been obesity, hepatitis b or c infection and alcohol abuse. Hepatitis B or C has been the primary cause of liver cancer in China. Some people got cancer through the inheritance of responsive genes. Thus liver cancer is hereditary. Liver cancer never shows any signs and symptoms at the beginning. The following symptoms occur when a tumor progresses. These symptoms include abdominal mass, abdominal pain, yellow skin, nausea, liver dysfunction as well as liver deterioration.

Liver cancer was one of the ancient diseases that eliminated so many people due to the lack of proper treatment. Western medicine practitioners did their best, but all they could do is manage to reduce its spread only but not curing it completely. Since there are no signs at the early stages, its prognosis was poor; thus many patients missed on curative resection surgery. Cirrhotic patients were at risk when given surgical resection. This is due to the fatal complications that are bound to be experienced on cirrhotic livers during resection. Other options such as chemotherapy and radiation were not regularly used on patients with liver cancer because the liver cannot tolerate radiation because it is chemotherapy refractory. Therefore, many Chinese citizens resolved to use traditional medicine in curing liver cancer.

Traditional Chinese medicine was one of the alternatives and contemporary cancer medicines in China. It was founded 2500 years back and is covered by the national health insurance programs and gets full support from the government in Taiwan and the mainland of China. It mainly based on the identification of functional entities. Liver therapy of traditional Chinese medicine depended on the pattern of disharmony. These patterns were of good help to different practitioners to prescribe different remedies. The Chinese medicine practitioner looked into the harmonious interactions between the external environment and the internal functional entities. Traditional Chinese medicine used the following primary functional objects: Internal organs, gas/energy also known as Qi, blood as well as the meridians. The meridians are channels of communication of blood and gas. They also link the internal organs with shallow areas of the body. When Sun studied medicine, “He was faced with the dilemma of whether to go back to his country where western medicine was not accepted.” (Bergere, Marie & Lloyd, 1998).

The different forms of traditional Chinese medicine that were used on cancer patients include acupuncture, herbal medicine, dietary therapy, moxibustion together with the breathing exercise. These therapies were beneficial in improving survival quality and overall survival in patients who have cancer. According to traditional Chinese medicine, liver cancer was associated with the ‘zheng Jia” meaning abdominal mass. Zheng stands for fixed mass and pain in the abdomen whereas, Jia stand for abdominal mass without fixed pain. These syndromes are brought about as a result of an abdominal lump with swelling or pain.  Traditional Chinese medicine divided the cause of cancer into two that is external factors and internal factors. These internal factors consist of emotional elements and an individual congenital constitution. Emotions especially negative emotions were the once considered to be causing cancer because if they prolong and be of high density, they alter the normal functioning of the whole body. External factors, on the other hand, are exhaustion, drug abuse, food, and beverage contamination or environmental factors such as wet climate which was seen as the cause of induction of liver cancer. These factors led to disease as they caused spleen deficiency, stagnation of qi and accumulation of dumbness.

Significanceand Cause of Liver Cancer in China

Liver cancer is a prevalent condition all over the globe, its occurrence is, but the disease has a very poor prognosis. In China, it is one of the typical leading causes of death as the country accounts for more than 50% of new liver cancer diagnosis in the world (Qiu et al., 2018).Thedisease burden causesan enormous strain on the healthcare of the nation although significant improvements have been made. Cancer mortality rate for both male and female genders has decreased courtesy of programs that modify risk factors, treatment and disease surveillance.

The causes of liver cancer include hepatitis C virus (HCV), hepatitis B virus (HBV), drinking alcohol, aflatoxins, and use of tobacco. About 80% of liver cancer diseases in China is caused by HBV (Sun et al., 2018). As such, China has made great strides in applying effective measures to prevent HBV infection through vaccination programs to infants. The effectiveness of the program is observed as the rate of HBV infection among children has declined.

Role of Chinese Medicine in Curing Liver Cancer

Traditional Chinese medicine was majorly used not only to cure but also to prevent diseases like liver cancer. Liver cancer was majorly prevented by maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle. Since deficiency of spleen could cause the liver cancer occurrence, people were to be observant of symptoms such as abdominal distention and ascites. According to traditional Chinese medicine, spleen deficiency can hinder liver function because the two influence each other. Therefore, people were not supposed to be using spicy and cold foods as well as cold water. Since alcohol substances do cause numbness in the body, they stand a better chance of inducing spleen deficiency. Anyway, moderate drinking is beneficial in the prevention of liver disorders including liver cancer. (Hsiao, Wendy & Liu, 2010).

Traditional Chinese medicine was majorly used to reduce inflammation that does cause hepatic carcinogenesis thus preventing liver cancer. Xiao Chai Hu Tang (XC HT) was one of the herbal remedies used to cure chronic viral liver diseases. This herb, according to traditional Chinese medicine, is capable of balancing between yin and yang and can modulate qi activities. This type of grass was used to prevent hepatitis C by inhibiting fibrosis in the liver and suppressing inflammation. Another herbal medicine that was used was Shi Quan Da Bu Tang (SQDBT). It played the role of regulating qi and treating yang deficiency. They did also prevent liver cancer development as they relieved chronic viral liver diseases through the reduction of the inflammatory processes as well as control of serum alanine transaminase levels. Other herbal medicines that were used to prevent liver cancer include baicalin, Schisandra Chinensis extracts, baicalein, silymarin, Salvia miltiorrhiza, and glycyrrhizin.

Furthermore, Chinese medicine inhibits liver cancer in the following ways. Traditional Chinese medicine did prevent primary liver cancer through the following means: spleen strengthening and qi invigoration. This was achieved through retrieval of stagnant qi from the liver. Other methods were heated clearance and detoxification, activation of blood circulation to dissipate blood stasis, and lastly Qi supplementation and in nourishment. In the case of advanced cancer, metastasis was to be suppressed. Tumor growth was to be inhibited and prevention of the recurrence by the use of traditional Chinese medicine (Hsiao, Wendy & Liu, 2010).

The mostly prescript medicine for liver cancer was Jia Wei Xiao Yao San and Chai Hu Shu Gan Tang for they inhibited tumor development and increased chances of patient’s survival.  Jia Wei Xiao Yao San was used to nourish blood and invigorate the spleen together with the removal of stagnant Qi in the liver. Chai Hu Shu Gan Tang, on the other hand, was used to disperse the qi stagnancy in the liver by activation of qi movement and pain relief. The use of these two compounds had little side effects and was applied in China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. “Other Chinese medicine extracts that could inhibit liver cancer growth or metastasis include silymarin, bufalin, berberine, radix bapleuri, wogonin, coptidis rhizome, curcumin, and radix salvia miltiorrhiza (Bergere, Marie & Lloyd, 1998).”

Nevertheless, Chinese medicine and their components were used to improve the quality of life and reduce the side effects of conventional therapy in patients of liver cancer. The most known side effects that come as a result of traditional medicine include appetite loss, nausea, fever, alopecia, vomiting myelosuppression, and abdominal pain. Myelosuppression is known for making the body not to comply with the treatment hence affecting the results of the procedure as well as threatening life quality. Recommended Chinese medicine for these side effects are:  for improving appetite, Galli Gigerii Endothelium Corneum and Ophiopogonis radix were used. Astragali radix for reducing fatigue, for abdominal pain relief, Toosendan Fructus and corydalis rhizoma were used Artemisia scopariae herbal for abating jaundice. Lastly, ascites were treated using pericardium aecae (Hsiao, Wendy & Liu, 2010).

Traditional Chinese Medicine was used as well to prohibit proliferation and to induce cell death in liver cancer cells. Jie Du XIAO Zheng Yin was used to suppress the proliferation in one dose at a given time-dependently. They did reduce tumor size and increased a tumor apoptotic index. Bufalin, extracted from toads parotid glands were also used to exhibit significant in inhibiting cancer cell proliferation. For more than one hundred years, shouging was used as an anticancer drug by the traditional Chinese medicine practitioners in China. A significant component in this particular herb actively suppresses the proliferation of liver cancer cells besides arresting the cell cycle with just a little toxicity. Berberine is another strong anticancer drug known for inducing apoptosis and autophagy in HCC (Hsiao, Wendy & Liu, 2010).

Again, Chinese medicine was used to induce liver cancer cells differentiation. The traditional medicine responsible for this is called panaxydol. Cell morphological changes were experienced after panaxydol treatment. Therefore it was significant in the induction of tumor cell differentiation. Pepsin and Ginseng were also used for the same purpose. Ardiussilloside, a component of Ardisia pusilla herb contain anticancer effects for it was used to inhibit metastasis and inversion of HCC cells. They prohibited the migration of HCC cells. Radix Salvia was used to inhibiting liver cancer development through the suppression of metastasis and recurrence in the animal model.

Traditional Chinese medicine was of good use on inhibition of angiogenesis ducting treatment of liver cancer. Angiogenesis is responsible for tumor growth and metastasis; thus it had to be inhibited. Livistona Chinese seeds were used over so many years to treat disease They inhibit tumor angiogenesis itch- signaling hence reducing intratumoral microvessel density. They also minimize angiogenesis-related proteins. In the case of advanced liver cancer, Yang Zheng Xiao was used for it improves the curative effect of interventional chemotherapy. A typical traditional Chinese medicine herbal diet by the name asparagus polysaccharide together with Transcatheter arterial chemoembolization therapy suppresses the growth of liver cancer cells. They usually target tumor angiogenesis (Hsiao, Wendy & Liu, 2010).

Another role of Chinese medicine was to enhance immunological function in the liver cancer patient. These medicines extend survival and prohibit tumor growth and metastasis. This is significant in preventing the recurrence of a tumor and strengthening of the immunity of a patient who has liver cancer. Moreover, to reverse drug resistance in liver cancer treatment traditional Chinese medicine is used. Piper betel leaves were used to prevent gene mutilation. Apart from that, its extract is capable of reducing drug resistance and improving chemotherapy effectiveness when administering liver cancer treatment.

The Value of Chinese Medicine

Chinese medicine was not just the mere, and tree backs meant for research as it was criticized. Its development was not primitive to be used for scientific research as the opponents put it.  After the investigation, which took little time and labor, had been done on this Chinese medicine, the outcome was that it was not a mere grass root or tree back, but an effective medication meant to cure different diseases including malaria and liver cancer (Hsiao, Wendy & Liu, 2010). These medicines were consistent with the World Health Organization on evaluating traditional medicine. Chinese medicine is not different from other objects created from modern science, for they have got material on the history of their medical literature, drug store, regional market, reputed prescription, disease classification, traditional practitioners and their clinical evidence. These Chinese medicines were not just used to cure people because they were readily available but because people that traditional practitioners had put in their effort, material object, skills and knowledge to make them useful. Therefore, there was no need for transforming Chinese medicine to be scientific because it was already scientific. The western medicine practitioners just wanted to be a hindrance of the state and Chinese medicine relationship (Hsiao, Wendy & Liu, 2010).

Since Chinese medicine had been proven scientifically, it came a time for the republican government to promote state medicine. Chinese medicine was debated on whether to be incorporated to the state medical or not. A conference was held in 1940, by the committee for Medical Education at the ministry of education. They were to give proposals for the state. The chairman of the conference proposed that the reformation of the national medical system and training of the practitioners of Chinese medicine and was considered. A research institute to investigate Chinese medicine with a scientific method was established. “Western medicine has been used alongside traditional Chinese medicine in treating various cancers (Bergere, Marie & Lloyd, 1998).’’ The fruits that the research was to bear were to be incorporated into the curriculum. The issue of state medicine did not go through as the nationalist party was less interested in it. Later on, the communist party succeeded in the national party and supported Chinese medicine fully.

Integration of Chinese Medicine with Western Medicine

The outbreak of the Manchurian plague made western medication superior to that of Chinese. This led to the chines medical practitioners agreeing to learn western medical knowledge while still sticking to their form of medication. This is because traditional medicine did not have experimentation and anatomy (Hsiao, Wendy & Liu, 2010). Therefore the urge of learning from each other that is western medication, and Chinese medicines emerged. Tang Songhai a traditional practitioner was one of the scholars who were interested in converting them. He related the two types of medicine and their significance. “The integration for Chinese medicine was revolutionized after there was a contraction between western medicine and the traditional Chinese medicine” (Bergere, Marie & Lloyd, 1998). He said that western medicine was good at visible configuration while Chinese medicine was good at qi-transformation.  He did this by the use of anatomic diagrams from western medical books and those of chines medicine. Instead of bringing the two together he ended up separating them even more.

After that, Yu Yan came in. He claimed that Chinese medicine could not any way relate to western medicine because they built out of speculation. He argued that they had got an inherent pre-theoretical nature of experience. They lack any Chinese characteristic though they are called Chinese medicine because they were established in China. He said that the medication came into existence because of a particular sort of reality that required close study.  He wanted a study to be carried out on chines medicine to prove that indeed are useless. He said that at song dynasty, Chinese medicine would have a new look and are bound extinction but it came out the opposite. The song dynasty gave total support to chines medicine like never before. This support was felt when they established imperial medical pharmacy and service bringing about medical curricula and examination system, medical therapy was expanded and most importantly, acupuncture and moxibustion therapy were standardized and ancient medical canons were to be reprinted. By doing so, many people including scholar-officials showed a lot of interest in the medical faculty (Bergere, Marie & Lloyd, 1998).

Research study on Chinese medicine commenced after Yu Yan had insisted that a serious investigation should be carried out to see if Chinese medicine indeed had any medical value. Many scientific researchers developed an interest in Chinese medicine. They carried out their research at Peking Union Medical College. When the dying Sun Yut-sen agreed to be treated with the traditional Chinese medicine, the administration of the PUMC ordered that he’s removed from the hospital. This indicated their uncompromising attitude towards the use of chines medicine even after they had carried out research and found that Chinese herb ephedra had had contents of alkaloid.  On the eve of the 1929 confrontation, research on Chinese drugs was approved in China. In the United States, the publication on asthma was viewed ephedrine as gold (Bergere, Marie & Lioyd, 1998). After some years, a small industry had come up that dealt with mahuang research. Many books on ephedrine followed.

Yumoto kyushine, the author of one of the Japanese texts called ‘Japanese-style Chinese medicine,’1927, which was later translated into Japan, was in the forefront to defend the ancient medicine and their formula. He stated that while western medicine is based on animal experience, Chinese medicine was based on human being experience. Therefore, they argued that Chinese medicine was appropriate for treating human beings than western medicine. (Hsiao, Wendy & Liu, 2010).

Later on, the practitioners of the traditional Chinese medicine saw the importance involving the state in their medication. This was as a result of missing on ordinances that the government granted modern schools. They were then forced to start a Chinese medical education. Later on, there was a suggestion of incorporating schools of Chinese medicine into national culture and be certified. They fought for the new interest of professionals. The traditional medicine practitioners benefited a little from the nationalist state as they were incorporated into the movement for joint social mobility. At this point, western medicine practitioners threatened Chinese medicine practitioners. This marked the beginning of the modern history of Chinese medicine. In 1931, the Institute of social medicine was inaugurated. It characterized as a symbol of the vision of social drug that was developed in 1929. This institution helped Chinese medicine to fit in the modern state.

Since the primary reason for the establishment of the institute was to reorganize Chinese medicine by use of scientific methods, Traditional practitioners were forced to impress the concept of science. This institute late on succeeded the National Federation of Medical and Pharmaceutical Associations. This resulted in to performing the federation’s urgent tasks and consolidated the alliance among all associations of national medical movement that participated. They created a nationally unified profession of Chinese medicine. The president of the institution urged his fellow practitioners to come up with a political perspective of creating a similar alliance for chines medicine as they narrowly escaped the threat from emerging power alliance (Zhou et al., 1988).

Students from Chinese medical schools did not practice anything traditional but instead adopted more of the western way of treating through the use of injections and prescription of western medicine. This gave the medicine of the west practitioners a chance to scold the Chinese system of teaching and the kind of end product that they got; that is students. On the other hand, none of the Chinese practitioners answered them back because they were so busy incorporating western medicine with Chinese medicine through these medical schools. This brought about numerous chaos in the medical environment3. Western medicine practitioner resolved to the government to solve the chaotic problem and that of Chinese medicine. This enabled the state to accept the demand for Chinese medicine practitioners. They wanted to change the current state of Chinese medicine and to get rid of unqualified practitioners. The Institute of national medicine was then transformed into the Chinese medicine administrative center.

Anyway, was there any reason that the western medicine practitioners were forcing the Chinese medicine practitioners to do things scientifically? This is because all actions of the Chinese medicine practitioners were scientific.  Science involves segmentation of the object into pieces and the with great care, assimilate them to form a section of the new homogeneous entity. This made possible the reformation of Chinese medicine. Most of the authors that had concluded that Chinese medicine could not be schematized later on came to agree that indeed Chinese medicine experience can be scintized although they suggested that the theories should be abandoned.  After they had seen that indeed the Chinese medicine practitioners have succeeded in making their medicine scientific, they looked for other reasons to lower its dignity. Fan Xingzhun stated that if chines medicine is made scientific, it will lose its meaning. So the thing of science in chines medicine is not applicable.

Since it was an order from the National State after setting up the Institute of national medicine that Chinese medicine should be scientific, the practitioners of Chinese medicine were so keen on it. They did not want their medicine to lose meaning as Fan had foretold it. They used western medicine and the syringes in treating their patients. This brought about confrontation from the practitioners of western medicine. They started to call Chinese medicine “mongrel medicine.” This was bound to happen as they saw that Chinese medicine was no longer being used in treating their patients. The practitioners of Chinese medicine saw the danger that came with thus confrontation and invented the ‘kexuehua’ concept. They came out with viable species of mongrel medicine to negotiate the Chinese medicine project of making it scientific (Bergere, Marie & Lloyd, 1998).

They, therefore, invented the germ theory and the pre-history of pattern differentiation and treatment determination. This brought about four different historical developments. The first one was the threat of the ontological conception of disease; which entailed western disease development on the idea of the specific basis of disease. The second one was the strategy that was inspired by the Japanese that emphasized the efficiency of the therapeutic practices other than participating in an ontological struggle with the western medicine proponents (Bergere, Marie & Lloyd, 1998). Then thirdly, the political need of incorporation of a new notion of infectious diseases that had been notified into Chinese medical doctrine. This is what was referred to as the germ theory.  Lastly, the practical significance of incorporating the biomedical practices into clinical applications of the Chinese medicine framework to prevent, disinfect, control as well as carry out therapeutics of infectious diseases.  These political and clinical threats, interests and innovative efforts led to the development incipient form of the novel approach of pattern differentiation and treatment determination by the Chinese medicine practitioners. Nevertheless, this was just a mere prehistory of pattern differentiation and treatment determination because the idea was not expressed with the exact four-character phrase of Chinese.

In 1930, this historical process matured through a methodology that entailed their salient features. To start with, the fundamental war over ontology was avoided by its inventors and Chinese medicine was not fashioned into a system that cannot be measured with the modern germ theory. The practitioners of Chinese medicine refused to exclude the germ theory medicine as they aimed at constituting Chinese medicine with the national health care system. Therefore, they developed the pattern differentiation and treatment determination strategy to negotiate and borrow from the theory. This was beneficial in maximizing their clinical and political interest. Pattern differentiation and treatment determination did not only bring about the modern development of Chinese medicine but also allowed them to preserve and develop the valuable aspects of their therapeutics. Again, it stated clearly that germ theory was not meant to destroy Chinese medicine but to preserve the fundamental strength of Chinese medicine (Bergere, Marie & Lloyd, 1998).

Treatment options and the controversy associated with it

China experienced significant healthcare shifts in the 20th century and thereby impacting the choice of treatment options. Chinese medicine for so many years has always been a treasure to the Chinese people because of its full spectrum of treatment that includes, acupuncture, qi, gong, herbs, moxibustion, proprietary Chinese medicine, and tailor-made therapy. Therefore, Most Chinese citizens resolved to use traditional Chinese medicine when diagnosed with cancer. Nevertheless, the introduction of western medicine which received state support gave the Chinese people another treatment options which was deemed more reliable by the proponents of modern science as it has a scientific base which is considered the core of medical practice.

Presently, the choice of treatment options in China is split between traditional Chinese medicine and western medicine. The birth of treatment options developed through a crucial historical moment that aimed at eliminating traditional Chinese medicine. When the political chaos came to an end in 1928, a new Chinese government was formed. Despite the government having control of a few regions it was dedicated to building the state, and it consequently established the ministry of health. However, the first national public health conference deliberated that Chinese medicine be abolished, the conference members were mostly western medicine practitioners. However, their decision resulted in an ironical twist which paved the way for national acceptance of Chinese medicine and therefore allowing the people of China to have two treatment options.

Upon the abolishment of Chinese medicine, traditional practitioners who were previously unorganized mobilized to form a movement to object to the removal of the practice. The struggle lasted for a decade as the two types of practitioners battled. Some of the significant changes that gave western medicine power over traditional medicine were the acceptance of western healthcare system by the state; additionally, the Chinese government took over the role of publishingmedical information from missionaries. The dissemination of medical information was taken over by Chinese healthcare practitioners and their role in advancing healthcare superseded the roles played by foreigners. Therefore given the nationalistic approach in spreading western medicine, the Chinese people actively participated in promoting the foreign practice which went through considerable transformations.

However, the decision to abolish Chinese medicine was reverted and therefore leading to a bifurcated medical field in China. A notable Chinese public health founder C. C. Chen shed light on the matter through a personal account of medicine in China. He asserted that the move to abolish Chinese medicine was a miscalculation. He stated that “In the 1920s, modern physicians, including Chinese nationals, inadvertently delayed the diffusion of scientific medicine, probably by many decades, through their demands for the abolition of traditional medicine” (CHEN, 1989, p.3). Hence, the eventual acceptance of Chinese medicine allowed the people of China to have two treatment options

In China, the choice of traditional or modern medicine varies from one individual to the other. Some people prefer to use Chinese medicine for many reasons; the treatment method offers them an opportunity to apply a healthcare routine that is associated with their culture. As such, people are more comfortable dealing with a system that they have a deeper understanding. There is the notion that most people understand their illnesses better from a Chinese medical perspective in comparison to modern medical concepts. Also, financial factors influence the decision to use Chinese medicine as it is cheaper compared to modern medical care. Therefore when one cannot afford the high costs of western medicine, then they rely on the services of traditional medicine. Also, specific types of illnesses influence the choice of treatment method. Traditional Chinese medicine is perceived to be appropriate for mild kind of diseases such as common colds while western medicine is used for much-complicated diseases.


Liver cancer is a chronic disease not only in China but all over the world. It was the cause of the death of the founder of China president Sun Yut-sen. He died of these diseases a long time ago. Many people have died of the disease too. Chinese citizens resolved to Chinese medicine for the cure of this disease among other conditions. Although there were many critiques about the treatment, it came out to be effective and natural. Instead of chemotherapies, liver cancer patients were to take traditional Chinese medicine and be healed of the disorder (Bergere, Marie & Lloyd, 1998).



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