CMPL 7009 Clinical Oncology and Chinese Medicine

Credit Points 10

Legacy Code 401136

Coordinator Shengxi (George) Zhang Opens in new window

Description This unit is focused on the clinical application of Chinese herbal medicine (CHM) and acupuncture in the management of cancer. Today, cancer is one of the leading causes of death and disease burden. Survival rates for many types of cancer have improved in recent years and long-term survival challenges accepted practices in cancer care and management. This unit explores application of Chinese medicine to the management of cancer, through the ancient wisdom in the classic literature recourses and contemporary clinical practice and research. The unit addresses the commonly used strategies, approaches and roles of Chinese medicine at different stages of cancer as well as the use of Chinese medicine as a supplementary therapy for common types of cancer.

School Health Sciences

Discipline Traditional Chinese Medicine

Student Contribution Band HECS Band 2 10cp

Level Postgraduate Coursework Level 7 subject


Students must be enrolled in 4716 Master of Chinese Medicine (or 4675 Master of Health Science (Traditional Chinese Medicine) and/or 4678 Master of Health Science (Acupuncture).

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this subject, students should be able to:

  1. Discuss the concept, aetiology and pathogenesis of cancer.
  2. Describe basic assessments of cancer and compare an contrast conventional treatments and commonly-used interventions for cancer management using acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine
  3. Critically analyse the theory and practice of CM for relieving symptoms induced by cancer treatment
  4. Critically analyse the theory and practice of CM as supportive care for common cancers
  5. Identify and critically evaluate the strengths and limitations of CM for cancer

Subject Content

1. Overview of oncology
a. Introduction to cancer: concept, causes and classification
b. Cancer assessments: grade, staging and cancer markers
c. Conventional treatment for cancer
- surgery
- Radiotherapy
- chemotherapy
- other therapies
2. Overview of CM in relation to cancer
a. Historical perspective
b. Aetiology and pathogenesis in CM
c. Diagnostic approaches in CM
d. Major research progress of CM for cancer
3. Strategies and principles of CHM and acupuncture management for cancer
a. Timing of engagement and relevant approaches
b. Treatment principles
c. Commonly-used CHM for cancer
d. Commonly-used acupuncture for cancer
e. Potential anticancer mechanisms of CHM
f. Cautions and safety
4. CM for relieving induced signs and symptoms associated with conventional therapies
a. Digestive symptoms
b. Bone marrow suppression
c. Fatigue
d. Hot flashes
e. Mucositis
f. Others
5. CM as supportive care for common cancers
a. Breast cancer
b. Prostate cancer
c. Colorectal cancer
d. Lung cancer
e. Melanoma
f. Lymphoma
g. Leukaemia
6. Strengths and limitations of acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine (CHM)


The following table summarises the standard assessment tasks for this subject. Please note this is a guide only. Assessment tasks are regularly updated, where there is a difference your Learning Guide takes precedence.

Item Length Percent Threshold Individual/Group Task
Completion of 1 case study that requires analysis of de-identified real case and demonstrates the integration of CM knowledge and western medical knowledge in terms of diagnostic information and treatment strategy 2,000 words 30 N Individual
Completion of a written assignment on a selected contribution of CM in cancer treatment 2,500 words 30 N Individual
Analysis of clinical cases through vUWS Minimum of 6 online posts with substantial content to fellow students in relation to online discussion topics 20 N Individual
In class test 15 minutes of each workshop 20 N Individual

Teaching Periods




Subject Contact Shengxi (George) Zhang Opens in new window

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