Chinese actress Xu Ting dies from cancer after choosing traditional Chinese medicine over chemo

Xu Ting, 26, was diagnosed with lymphoma, a form of cancer that affects the immune system, earlier this year.
Xu Ting, 26, was diagnosed with lymphoma, a form of cancer that affects the immune system, earlier this year.PHOTO: @KITTY/ WEIBO

BEIJING - Chinese actress Kitty Xu Ting died from lymphoma on Sept 7 after rejecting chemotherapy in favour of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and treatments such as acupuncture, cupping and gua sha, in which the skin is scraped with a smooth tool.

She would have turned 26 on Oct 3.

According to the Shanghaiist website and Chinese media reports, she revealed to her 300,000 fans on the micro-blogging site Weibo in July that she had been diagnosed with lymphoma.

Even though she said that TCM might not cure her, it was still preferable to chemotherapy, reported The Nanfang. "I know that chemotherapy is extremely painful, and is a process that can even speed up my death," she wrote, adding that she didn't want to "let chemotherapy torment me to the point where there's no beauty and talent left".

In a post on July 24, she shared pictures of her back covered with cupping marks and her undergoing jiu sha, a folk remedy that involves repeated pinching, usually of the neck and back, to increase blood circulation. She said that it was tough to endure the treatments. "When it hurts, I'll joke with the nurses so that I can bear the pain."


A photo of Xu Ting's medical report she shared on her Weibo account. PHOTO: @KITTY/ WEIBO


The effects of Xu Ting's TCM treatment seen on her neck. PHOTO: @KITTY/ WEIBO


A Weibo post by Xu Ting indicating her weight and sharing her difficulty in vomiting. PHOTO: @KITTY/ WEIBO


In a Weibo post on July 24, Xu Ting shared pictures of her back covered with cupping marks and her undergoing jiu sha, a folk remedy that involves repeated pinching, usually of the neck and back, to increase blood circulation PHOTO: @KITTY/ WEIBO

However, said Sina website, the procedures did not seem to work and her younger sister eventually convinced her to switch her course of treatment and said: "She was cheated by so many cheats that she's only turned to chemo now."


Xu Ting undergoing painful TCM treatment. PHOTO: @KITTY/ WEIBO


A Weibo post from Xu Ting at the hospital, where she asked for Buddha to spare her from all the pain as it was too painful. PHOTO: @KITTY/ WEIBO

Her death has ignited a debate over cancer treatment in China, according to the BBC and Chinese media reports.

Xu was the third eldest among seven children. She made her debut on television in the series Dad Home (2013) and her movies include the comedy Lost In Macau (2015).