Clinical study finds Chinese medicine improves survival rates in colorectal cancer patients

Colorectal cancer is one of the most diagnosed cancers in the U.S., excluding skin cancer. It’s estimated that at least 140,000 American adults will be diagnosed with the condition each year, with 50,000 cases leading to death. In a study, researchers from the Central South University in China have suggested using Traditional Chinese Medicine to increase a person’s chances of surviving colorectal cancer. Their findings, which appeared in the Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine, investigated the effect of Jianpi Jiedu, a Chinese herbal formulation consisting of 11 herbs, on the survival rates of patients with advanced stages of colorectal cancer.

Jianpi Jiedu is a decoction made up of 11 crude herbs, namely: Astragalus tea, American ginseng, Bai Zhu, Poria mushrooms, coix seeds, Chinese sarsaparilla, snake needlegrass, barbed skullcap, Paris polyphylla, hardy kiwi, and Chinese licorice. It has been used to treat colorectal cancer for decades, improving the quality of life of patients and relieving symptoms that come with the disease. In the study, the team focused on the effects of Jianpi Jiedu on patients with stage 2 and stage 3 colorectal cancer.

The team involved patients who were under chemotherapy for the trial. They were assigned into two groups: One group only received chemotherapy, while the other group received both chemotherapy and Jianpi Jiedu. The trial ran for three months, during which the team observed the patients’ survival time, cancer relapse and spread, and even cause of death. They also ran a statistical analysis to determine which factors affected the survival rate of a patient with colorectal cancer.

After the trial was concluded, the researchers found that patients treated with Jianpi Jiedu had a significantly higher survival rate than those who received chemotherapy alone. In particular, those treated with Jianpi Jiedu were able to prolong their survival time by at least six months. The combination of chemotherapy and Jianpi Jiedu, according to researchers, had a synergistic protective effect on patients, based on their improved survival rates.

“[Jianpi Jiedu] can improve the survival rate in patients with stage II and III CRC [or colorectal cancer],” the authors concluded in their study. (Related: Fighting colorectal cancer with gut health: Certain probiotic bacteria, combined with broccoli, found to prevent and reduce tumors.)

Lowering the risk of colorectal cancer

It is true that the risk of having colorectal cancer is increased as a person ages. You can take note of the following factors to keep the disease at bay.

  • Weight. Studies have shown that while being overweight or obese increases the risk of colorectal cancer, it is more prevalent in men. To prevent this, maintain a healthy weight and avoid getting weight around the midsection.
  • Physical activity. Engaging in a physical activity can greatly lower the risk of polyps, which are the precursor to colorectal cancer. Mild-to-moderate activities like brisk walking, as well as vigorous ones like running, can help reduce your risk.
  • Diet. Increasing the intake of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains and reducing consumption of red and processed meat can lower the risk of colorectal cancer. Some studies have also suggested that fiber — like those found in whole grains — help prevent the disease.
  • Alcohol. Men who have high alcohol intakes are more prone to colorectal cancers over those that do not, according to several studies.
  • Smoking. Aside from various health problems, long-term smoking increases the risk of colorectal cancer, among other types.

Learn more about natural ways to treat colorectal cancer at

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