When considering the side effects of cancer treatment, most people automatically think of several short-term side effects such as hair loss, change in appetite, pain, nausea, and fatigue. It is a common misconception that these side effects disappear soon after treatment ends.
Cancer treatment has advanced with great strides over the past few decades. The evolving range of diagnostic and treatment options available make treating cancer more precise and effective than ever before. Despite the great advances in this field, however, there remains a major gap that has many cancer patients asking themselves if the treatment is even worth it.
When deciding on a treatment plan, most cancer patients are faced with a list of options – each option has its own lengthy list of side effects. In fact, rather than choosing the most effective treatment, many make the choice based on which treatment option has the most tolerable side effects. Though treatment is typically the only path to receiving a clean bill of health, the short term and long-term side effects can be exceptionally daunting.
When considering the side effects of cancer treatment, most people automatically think of several short-term side effects such as hair loss, change in appetite, pain, nausea, and fatigue. It is a common misconception that these side effects disappear soon after treatment ends. The unfortunate reality is that while some side effects from cancer treatment may disappear after treatment, many linger for months, years, or may never completely go away. Some patients may never regain their sense of taste, others may experience early menopause or infertility, and still others may develop long lasting ailments or diseases. With short-term side effects making the present uncomfortable and long-term side effects dimming their hope for the future, cancer patients and survivors are saying enough is enough. They are demanding more research on side effects – and it seems that some researchers are listening.
Dr. Yung-Chi Cheng is a researcher funded by the National Foundation for Cancer Research who has spent the past several decades studying the therapeutic properties of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Dr. Cheng’s laboratory is working to bring Traditional Chinese Medicine into the mainstream of Western medicine, with hopes of reducing the side effects of chemotherapy while enhancing the benefits.
“Chinese medicine works by taking advantage of multiple chemicals, and also the capability of different organs metabolizing these chemicals,” Dr. Cheng explained.
Being a leader in this field, Dr. Cheng and his team have launched the first international clinical trial for a botanical drug named YIV-906 (PHY906, KD108). This fascinating new approach combines Western medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine, or Eastern medicine, and is appropriately referred to by Dr. Cheng and his team as WE medicine.
YIV-906 is a capsule filled with the dried extract of four herbs, which have been used in the Orient for more than 1,800 years for a variety of gastrointestinal symptoms including diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. The formula relies on naturally derived licorice, skullcap, peony, and dates. It was of great excitement when early studies not only suggested that YIV-906 reduced painful side effects but also enhanced anti-tumor activity. The initial phase of the study showed that the drug eradicated the tumors in mice and even blocked implanted tumors from growing.
“So far 170 cancer patients have used YIV-906 in the clinic,” Dr. Cheng shared. “The data from our early stage studies suggest that patients are living longer, recovering faster, and experiencing fewer gastrointestinal side effects.”
NFCR believes in high-risk/high-reward research and is dedicated to providing funding for innovative researchers like Dr. Cheng. Every day, these researchers make progress on the fight against cancer thanks to the funding raised through NFCR. To help drive these exciting and life changing breakthroughs, NFCR relies on the generosity of our supporters. Help fund Dr. Cheng and other amazing research teams by donating here.
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