The death of popular Chinese actress Xu Ting created an international debate about the use of alternative medicine.
In July, Ting posted on her Weibo account that she had been diagnosed with lymphoma, a cancer of the lymph nodes. The 26-year-old also went on to share that she would not be receiving chemotherapy or any other types of Western medicine to treat her cancer. Instead, she would use a combination of Chinese medicine, including cupping, acupuncture and gua sha — a skin scraping therapy.
Ting posted that she feared using chemo would be too painful for her to endure or it would speed up her illness.
“I want to forgo continual treatment and go with traditional Chinese medical treatment, no kidding,” Ting posted on her Weibo. “I’m not sure if traditional Chinese medicine will cure me, but I know that chemotherapy will be painful and I may even die sooner. So regardless of how long I can live for, I want to enjoy every day and live it to the fullest.”
Ting posted photos of herself receiving the cupping and gua sha treatments. Cupping became extremely well known over the summer when Olympic athletes such as Michael Phelps admitted to using the Chinese therapy.
Immediately, her fans began to share their opinions and concerns about her medical choice.
“Can you not do this? Can you please accept Western medical treatment,” wrote one user.
Eventually in August, her health deteriorated rapidly and she grew extremely ill. After being hospitalized, Xu Ting’s sister announced she would be using chemotherapy. However, her system was far too weak and Xu Ting died on September 7.
Following her death, the debate over the legitimacy of Chinese alternative medicine grew fiercer than ever. Some argued that Chinese medicine is not an appropriate form of treatment, as it did nothing to help Ting. However, a Chinese journalist claimed chemo patients still pass away, so her death does not disprove the abilities of Chinese medicine.
The general consensus seemed to be that the actress should have combined both Western and Eastern medicine to cure her tumor and help with her symptoms.
(Photo: XuTing via Twitter)