National Cancer Centre Singapore trial to evaluate benefits of TCM on cancer survivors’ quality of life

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Would patients who suffer from cancer-related fatigue benefit from traditional Chinese medicine (TCM)? That is the question the National Cancer Centre Singapore is trying to answer through a first-time trial involving TCM to treat the side effects of cancer.

Cancer patients may experience a “distressing and persistent sense of physical, emotional and/or cognitive tiredness, which is a side-effect of cancer or anti-cancer treatments”, NCCS said in a press release on Thursday (Apr 22).

The condition is estimated to affect 50 per cent to 90 per cent of patients, and is assessed by asking patients how tired they feel on a scale of zero to 10, said medical oncologist Dr Tira Tan at a press conference held on the Zoom video conferencing platform.

Patients are also asked if they have been experiencing the fatigue for the last seven days straight.

“The problem is it’s quite distressing because your usual activities that, you know, in short, make life meaningful such as socialising, exercising, going to work, can sometimes be affected,” she said.

The exact cause of the fatigue is unknown but Dr Tan said “it is suggested that perhaps the pro-inflammatory nature of cancer and/or the treatments that are related to cancer may potentially lead to mitochondrial dysfunction”.

Mitochondria are found in the body’s cells and produce energy.


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