Chinese actress Xu Ting dies of cancer after opting for alternative medicine instead of chemotherapy

Instead she chose traditional Chinese medicine such as cupping, acupuncture and skin scraping

The death of a Chinese actress from cancer has reignited the debate over alternative therapies after she initially shunned chemotherapy treatment for traditional Chinese medicine. Xu Ting, 26, was diagnosed with lymphoma in July and decided not to undergo chemotherapy because she feared it would be too painful or even speed up her death. She said she wanted to “enjoy every day happily”, adding: “I don’t want chemotherapy to torture me until I have no beauty or talent left.”

Instead, she chose traditional Chinese medicine, including cupping, acupuncture and gua sha – a skin scraping therapy. She documented her treatment on China’s Sina Weibo social media site, sharing photos of her cupping and scraping treatments. By mid-August, Xu Ting’s sister said her treatment had failed and she had decided to try chemotherapy and accused the traditional Chinese medicine “master” of being a “fraud”. However, her immune system had become weakened and she died on 7 September.

Her death has renewed debate over alternative medicine and the hashtag #XuTing’sDeathAndChineseMedicine began trending on Sina Weibo. However, some have argued that traditional Chinese medicine cannot be blamed for her death. “Some people say that traditional Chinese medicine can’t cure cancer, so therefore traditional Chinese medicine is a sham. This kind of logic is ridiculous,” a journalist for the Beijing Evening News wrote, according to a translation from The Nanfang.

“There are many cancer patients who still pass away after receiving chemotherapy. Will these same people also say that western medicine is a sham?”

Others argued she should have taken both forms of treatment, using the chemotherapy to target her tumour and alternative medicine to help alleviate her symptoms.



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Cherry May Timbol – Independent Reporter
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