Lin Yi, The Founder of Modern Chinese Medicine Mammary Disease: Devotion to Chinese Medicine With No Resent and Regret

2021-12-15 17:27:14 Guangzhou Gloryren Medical Technology Co., Ltd 203


The official account of China Net of Traditional Chinese Medicine

Lin Yi is the pioneer in the discipline of modern Chinese medicine Mammary disease. She founded the theory of “from the six depressions to cure breast disease”, establishing a series of clinical treatment systems such as “periodic therapy of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM)”. For cyclomastopathy, she suggests “coordinating Yin and Yang, treating by balancing and dredging” for inflammatory breast disease and“differentiation and treatment of each breast cancer stage”,  and thus forms a distinctive TCM diagnosis and treatment.


As the founder of modern Chinese medicine Mammary disease discipline and the theory of “from the six depressions to cure breast disease”, Lin Yi has founded the systems of TCM treatment and rehabilitation for breast diseases characterized with all-rounded and whole-periodic, covering all diseases. This nearing 80-year-old renowned TCM physician has been rewarded with “Award for outstanding contribution to the academic development of Breast diseases in TCM” and “The most beautiful TCM physician nationwide”. Now she works in the Second Affiliated Hospital of Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine (Guangdong Provincial Chinese Medicine Hospital) and provides medical service six days a week, serving a total of 10,000 patients annually, among which includes more than 70% of difficult cases.

“I am devoted to TCM without regret, to overcome breast diseases with trials and hardships .” Having been a doctor for 56 years, Lin Yi made Qi Huang (namely TCM) as shield to protect women’s health from the “pink killer”- breast diseases.




Establishing and developing the discipline of modern Chinese medicine Mammary disease

Lin Yi was born in a medical family in Fujian province and she was involved in TCM by chance. Before graduating from Guangxi Traditional Chinese Medical College (Guangxi University of Chinese Medicine), she held internship in a western medicine hospital in Guilin City, which boosted up her determination in TCM.

Her department once took in a patient who was hospitalized because of heavy headache and high fever after getting soaked in the rain and did not get better with all kinds of treatments and examinations.

“Feel empathy for patients’ pain”. Lin Yi analyzed the patient’s syndrome by four clinical syndrome differentiation, and diagnosed it with “Jia Se typhoid fever”. She thought that the Five-tiger decoction that her teacher taught may be effective to this disease. However, this hospital was a Western Medicine hospital and she couldn’t prescribe medicine independently as an intern. But the patient got worse and worse, Lin decided to give it a try, thus she bought some herbs from Chinese medicine hospital and made a decoction overnight without agreement from attending doctor.

The next day, the director asked who gave Chinese medicine to this patient when he was in a ward-round. At first, Lin thought that she got into trouble for her conduct, so she came to the patient’s room to admit that. Instead, she was praised by the director, who was also agreed with her treatment with TCM, which was an exception in this Western Medicine hospital.

It turned out that the decoction brought patient’s fever down and alleviated his head and neck. A week later, he was cured and discharged.

Lin Yi was supposed to stay at university for teaching, bur her excellence greatly impressed experts in that hospital,so they invited her to join them. And another internship hospital-Guilin Municipal Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine also made an invitation to Lin Yi.

As she was edified in a medical family and inspired by the experience of TCM master-Ban Xiuwen and Lin Peixiang, Lin decided to improve her TCM level in clinical practice instead of staying at school for teaching. Then, she worked in Guilin Municipal Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine and a military hospital in Lintong, Shangxi province. In this period, she treated thousands of patients and finally became a generalist of TCM, tackling diseases of internal medicine, surgery, gynecology and pediatrics.

In 1979, the undeveloped Guilin Municipal Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine sent a letter to invite Lin Yi back to the hospital. With agreement from the military hospital, she came back to Guilin as an senior expert. She acutely found that there was a rise in the number of patients with breast diseases, especially the mastitis. “At that time, there wasn’t a clear classification of breast disease discipline, some were treated in the department of surgery, while others were treated in the department of gynecology. Breasts are the secondary sex characters of women, but surprisingly we do not have a specialty department.” As a female doctor, Lin could deeply understand the pain and demands of patients, so she came up with a thought to establish a TCM specialty of breast diseases.

But how to establish a TCM specialty of Breast Diseases without any previous experience nationwide?

It was in 1982, the Ministry of Health organized the fist national conference on the construction of Chinese Medicine hospitals and higher Chinese Medicine colleges. In the conference, Lin boldly put forward her own “eight standards of specialty construction”. First, a specialty should have its own academic leader; second, a specialty should have a well-layered talent pool; third, a specialty should have fixed hospital beds, specialty department and outpatient time; fourth, a specialty should be strongly demanded and enjoy a great reputation among public; fifth, a specialty should have a series of effective pharmaceutics; sixth, a specialty should have matched advanced medical equipment; seventh, a specialty should have clinical conclusion, thesis, project and monograph; eighth, a specialty should grasp literature and latest news of Chinese and western medicine in this specialty at home and abroad.

These eight standards are clear and comprehensive, which was approved by the experts including TCM master Deng Tietao in the conference. Later, some representatives made academic visits in Guilin Municipal Hospital of Chinese Medicine. These standards are precious experience for developing TCM and western medicine.

In 1983, Lin was invited to join the National Symposium on Emergency Work in TCM Hospitals. She further put forward the thought of development that “leading by Emergency and specialized in specialist diseases construction”. It presents a blueprint of modern Chinese medicine breasts disease subject that based on TCM and confronting the edge of modern medicine.

In 1984, she established the first TCM Breast Disease discipline in the national health system. With experience and reflection from long-term clinical practice, she developed a series of TCM techniques and specialist preparations, such as “breast massage” and “breast abscess on holed cauterized needling therapy added pus-extracted drug drainage technique”, which gradually became well-known throughout China.

The Breast Specialty of Guilin Municipal Hospital of Chinese Medicine was rated as “National TCM Breast Disease Prevention and Treatment Center” of China Association of Traditional Chinese Medicine Breast Disease Professional Committee in 1991. Four years later, the Specialist Center was approved by the State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine(SATCM) as the only “National Breast Disease Medical Center of Chinese Medicine”, thus becoming the key specialty of National Health Commission.

In 1997, the 55-year-old professor was content with her achievements, and she accepted the invitation from Guangdong Provincial Hospital of Chinese Medicine to build up the Beast Disease specialty and be the leader to develop Beast Disease discipline in Guangdong province and Guangxi province. “I am willing to take on challenges and go to the places needed!”

Under her leadership, the breast disease discipline in Guangdong Provincial Hospital of Chinese Medicine had became a national key specialty from zero in only 5 years. It was accredited by the SATCM as a “Tenth Five-year Plan” key discipline and construction unit in 2002, and it has been rated as key specialty construction project by the SATCM from “Eleventh Five-year Plan” to “Thirteenth Five-year Plan”. Currently, the breast discipline of Guangdong Provincial Hospital of Chinese Medicine has become the largest breast disease center of TCM, integrated TCM and western medicine as well as the attached unit of Traditional Chinese Medicine Breast Disease Professional Committee. It serves a total of 190,000 patients and performs over a thousand of breast cancer surgeries annually, ranking the first in the list of national TCM hospitals and leading the breast disease field of TCM as well as integrated TCM and western medicine all round China.

“The specialty construction shouldn’t only focus on its backyard but look more broadly.” Lin Yi, the founder of two national key specialty in Guangdong and Guangxi Provinces, has kept the whole country in view early.

In late 1980s, Lin Yi held the position of deputy director of the first Traditional Chinese Medicine Breast Disease Professional Committee, and she was devoted to build a high-level academic exchange platform covering the nation. In 1997, she was appointed by the SATCM to found the Cooperative Committee of National Network of TCM Breast Disease Medical Centers, which joined by 33 prefecture-level medical and research units in 17 provinces, cities and autonomous regions.

Since 2000, Lin Yi has been the director of Traditional Chinese Medicine Breast Disease Professional Committee and China Association of Traditional Chinese Medicine Breast Disease Prevention and Coordination Working Committee for 16 years. In 2016, the professional commission under her leadership was approved by the SATCM as a secondary institution- “Chinese Society of Traditional Chinese Medicine Breast Disease Branch”, which she served as Honorary Chairman until now. Under her leadership, a unique modern Chinese medicine breast disease discipline that affects the whole country is flourishing.

Her great contributions and achievements were rewarded by governments and social organizations. In 1993, she was awarded a special allowance issued by the State Council of the People’s Republic of China and the title of “National Health and Civilization Advanced Worker”. And she was identified as the second batch of national traditional Chinese medicine experts to inherit the academic experience in 1997. In the years that followed, she was awarded the titles of “Excellent Expert of Guangxi province” and the first session of “ Chinese Medicine Master in Gui Style”, and won the “Li Shizhen Medicine Innovation Award” of Chinese Society of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

In recognition of her great contributions to the TCM academic development of Breast Diseases, the Chinese Society of Traditional Chinese Medicine rewarded her the“Outstanding Contribution Award for Academic Development of Chinese Breast Diseases”. In 2017, she was awarded the title of first “National Famous Chinese Medicine”, who is the only expert nationwide to win this prize in this field.



Carrying on the essence of TCM while pursuing innovations, setting an example in the field

“We should try our best to play the role of TCM in treating diseases, and it will be a shame if we fail to treat TCM predominant diseases with our advantages.” For the way of medicine, Lin Yi is committed to her principles. In terms of TCM predominant diseases, she insists applying TCM rather than western medicine; in terms of difficult diseases, she insists on TCM with reference to western medicine; in terms of severe acute diseases, she insists practicing TCM combined with western medicine. Her ideas mark a breakthrough in western medicine framework and clinical guidelines, and form a distinctive TCM diagnosis system.

In years of clinical practices, Lin Yi found that most cases of Breast Diseases are caused by bad mood and they further presents different melancholia based on liver depression and Qi stagnation. Therefore, she absorbed the essences of past melancholia theories, and then created her own theory of “from the six depressions to cure breast disease” as well as treatment methods of “treating breast with middle energizer” and “treating breast with Qi and circulating Qi throughout the whole body”, which has become the guideline of TCM breast diseases in theory, differentiation and treatment.

She originated the “cycle therapy of Breast Disease in Chinese Medicine” in clinical practice, and put forward the treatment methodology related to menstruation. Before menstruation, it focuses on treating symptoms by smoothing liver, activating blood and eliminating stagnation and dispersing nodulation . After menstruation, it focuses on treating the root by warming kidney, enhancing yang and Chong Ren Law. At the basis of differentiation diagnosis, it makes corresponding treatments in different period considering both symptoms and root, which not only enriches the theory of TCM, but also opens a new field for combining TCM and modern medicine of breast disease.

Granulomatous Mastitis is called “Not Lethal Cancer”. It is a difficult disease in the Mammary discipline, which makes patients painful accompanied by ulceration, pus and it is refractory. In respond, Lin brought up the treatment system of “coordinating Yin and Yang, treating by balancing and dredging” for Granulomatous Mastitis, applying same methodology to different kinds of inflammations. Clinical researches show that, under its guidance, the effective rate of Granulomatous lobular mastitis reaches over 90% and excellent cosmetic results is up to 76.7% compared with the 12.5% of surgical treatment. The advantages of TCM present as lessening trauma and side-effect, keeping a beautiful appearance and better function, as well as lowering recurrence rate as much.

In the beginning of 2020, Mrs. He, who suffered from Granulomatous Mastitis, accepted months of hormonal therapy. However, it turned out that the lesion in her breast did not shrink but extended to the whole breast. Her breast was covered with nodules, lumps, abscess and intricate sinus tracts, leaving a finger-size ulceration with pus effusion. Therefore, Many hospitals suggested her to have a mastectomy after eliminating inflammation, but finally this hopeless patient found Lin Yi.

“Multiple complex pathogenic factors react, so first they heat the accumulated stagnation, and excessive heat makes the meat rotten, then the rotten meat produces pus, therefore we should eliminate putridity and engender flesh.” With her theory of“coordinating Yin and Yang, treating by balancing and dredging”, Lin Yi adopted a comprehensive treatment of "balanced viscera, purulent phlegm and rot” on Mrs. He, eliminating a lot of pus and necrotic tissue from her breast. Mrs. He, who once suffered from this disease for a long time, said sincerely, “I felt much better after the first treatment, and I fully recovered from that after a week! I didn’t expect that the effect of TCM would be so good!”

As for the prevention and control of breast cancer, Lin Yi put forward the idea of “balancing zang and fu, coordinating yin and yang”, preventing the risk of cancer through balancing the internal environment. She established the treatment system of “differential diagnosis by stages”, and led the research of standardizing differential diagnosis of breast cancer with improved Delphi method nationwide. Furthermore, she identified different treatments for stages of breast cancer, such as peroperative period, perichemotheraputic period, radiotherapy period and consolidation period, which is very effective in clinical practice.

Lin Yi attached great importance to the philosophy of correspondence between man and nature in the perichemotheraputic period. And she suggests spleen and kidney-reinforcing method  combined with meridian flow injection in order to prevent the refractory bone marrow suppression-the most common poisonous side-effect of radiotherapy.

Mrs. Yu, who suffered from breast cancer, accepted chemotherapy in Beijing, and she had bone marrow suppression after the first course of treatment. With multiple Leucogenic drugs, she still had bone suppression in IV degree, so she had to discontinue the chemotherapy and asked help from Lin Yi. Lin diagnosed Mrs.Yu with deficiency of qi and blood in spleen and kidney, and determined the thought of invigorating congenital origin(kidney) and acquired foundation(spleen), prescribing Chinese medicine of invigorating the spleen, kidney and producing marrow. But the patient did not turn well after taking medicine, thus Lin asked her way of making decoction and found out that she did not take the medicine in the way of meridian flow injection. At last, she asked the patient must strictly take medicine on time. Then, Mrs. Yu found that her white cells returned to normal range after medication. “I just change the time to take medicine, it is really amazing!” She felt very surprised and kept on Chinese medication as directed, finally she successfully finished the chemotherapy.

In the radiotherapy period, Lin determines the thought of combining internal and external treatment and nourishing yin to clear heat in order to prevent radiation complications, such as pneumonia, dermatitis and pharyngitis. In the consolidation period, with the microcosmic syndrome differentiation, Lin develops the methodology of “ hormone receptor negative targets in spleen, and hormone receptor positive targets in kidney” according to the syndromes of different molecular typing of tumor. It helps patients improve the immunity and reduce the risk of tumor metastasis and relapse, bringing hope to patients with breast cancer in receptor negative.

Lin advocates of paying equal attention to prevention and treatment, making physical and mental treatment, combining the philosophy of Chinese medicine and the treatment method. She was the first to propose the emotional therapy and “five tones”therapy into breast diseases prevention and control. Meanwhile, her originated “eight ways of breast care” was approved by the State General Administration of Sports as a prescription of health Qigong.

Meanwhile, Lin led the national TCM experts to hold the four consensus of experts in China Chinese Medicine Institute. She hosted 9 national treatment standards, for instance, Clinical diagnosis and treatment of traditional Chinese medicine for surgical diseases and Clinical Path. These consensuses and standards were absorbed into her own academic thoughts, which provided a standardized guidance for the national industry of Mammary disease of TCM. She was the chief editor of 7 academic monographs, among which the Modern Chinese Medicine Breast Diseases was cited over 1,200 times, remaining the highest record in the field of TCM mastology. Besides, it is the foundation of modern Chinese medicine for Mammary disease, and won the prize of the Academic Works of the Chinese Medicine Association. As a lead author, her research project won 3 provincial science and technology awards and one science and technology award of Chinese Medicine Association. Furthermore, her academic thoughts and achievements have not only been reported a few times in People’s Daily and its medias, but also have been widely reported in Chinese medias in America, Japan and Indonesia.

Lin formulated prescriptions with inspiration of Chinese philosophy, and she developed 14 prescriptions. Her new drug “Jinrong Granule” was approved for listing in 2018, which is the first Chinese medicine new drug that has been approved since the implementation of the drug marketing authorization holder system. And it was approved according to the standards of Chinese and western medicine and FDA standards of USA. This drug sets an industrial example for the transformation of experience of famous TCM physicians who follow the TCM methodology of “theory, method, prescription, drugs”, marking a milestone of developing new Chinese medicine.


Saving people and educating people, practicing great medicine


There is a calligraphy work written by Chen Lifu, an elder statesman of Kuomintang, hang on the wall of Lin’s TCM heritage studio in Guangdong Provincial Chinese Medicine Hospital, saying “enforce justice on behalf of heaven”, which is also a vivid explanation of her devotion to TCM.

At the age of retirement, she is still energetic and works hard. Everyday patients from all around China ask for extra appointment, and she always tries her best to satisfy patients tirelessly.

Although the clinical work is very busy, but she is always serious with her patients as she carefully collects their case history, observes symptoms, making treatment combined with observation of tongue and pulse. Lin observes symptoms carefully, identifying disease with symptoms and making correct and effective prescription. Sometimes patients feel anxious and painful because of the disease, and Lin always strongly encourages them, “don’t be afraid! I am always here for you”.

Treating difficult diseases like Breast Cancer cost a lot, and some families may carry heavy financial burden because of diseases. So she is determined to cure patients with the least money, and she works deeply on TCM. Every time she talks about a disease that she can easily share a series of free treatments, reaching easy and effective results and alleviating patients’ burden.

“Prof. Lin tells all the details including the way of decoction, the time of medication, daily exercise and massaging some acupuncture points.” Mrs. Zhang who suffered from breast cancer, said that she was very impressed with Lin’s delicate attitude and she was still touched by an experience so far.

One day when Mrs. Zhang told Lin about her symptoms, she couldn’t help burst into tears. Ever since she was diagnosed with breast cancer, there was alienation in her marital relation, Zhang felt hopeless so she cried for a long time. Knowing the reason, Lin comforted her and asked her to bring her husband to the follow-up visit. And Mrs. Zhang did bring her husband in next month. At first, Lin did the treatment for the wife as usual, then she had a face-to-face talk with Mr. Zhang and carefully analyzed the condition of his wife as well as the hardness fighting the cancer, pointing out that he should take good care of Mrs. Zhang. Her words helped repair their marital relation, and now Mr. Zhang takes good care of his wife as he accompanies with her to every visit. “A doctor not only treats people but also helps them resolve problems.” From clinical diagnosis and treatment to daily care, Lin always implements her work and research based on patient’s needs. Patients with breast diseases usually suffer from the problem that Qi and blood channels are blocked, so Lin published Guide to Women’s Health to teach how to enhance blood and Qi circulation and dredge the channel through simple and practical movements. Many patients sometimes ask her suggestions about daily diets, so she organized a team to edit a popular science book called Breast Health starts with lifestyle improvements and opened a WeChat column called The book of TCM to answer patients’ questions.

Strengthening TCM teaching and inheriting TCM. Over the years, Lin has always insisted on talent as the first resource to promote and lead the TCM Breast Disease discipline at home and abroad.

Since 1988, Lin was appointed by the SATCM to host 35 sessions of Taiwan Chinese Physician Clinical Training Course, in which a total of 535 Taiwanese talents participated. She hosted national-level continuing education project over 20 times, cultivating thousands of TCM talents across China every year. Furthermore, she was invited for academic visit overseas many times and regular academic exchanges between China and Japan. Lin was awarded the “International Famous Physician Award” by China Medical Board, enjoying a good academic reputation at home and abroad.

As a new generation comes, in response to the call for the construction of TCM highlands in Guangdong-Hong Kong -Macao Greater Bay area, Lin accepted the invitation to hold the position of honorary professor in University of Hong Kong to develop the academic exchange and medical collaboration of TCM breast disease in greater bay area, raising the academic development of TCM breast disease in greater bay area to a new level.

Lin was the tutor of the second and the fourth batch of instructors for the transmission of academic experience from the famous veteran doctors of TCM. As a tutor, she raised 4 academic heirs and 22 disciples. And she told them, “I will tell all my knowledge and experience with you unreservedly and how much do you learn depends on yourself”.

In 2014, Wang Zhiyu who majored in western medicine graduated from doctoral education. Lin noticed his talent and didn’t mind his major, and finally invited him to be her student. “I majored in western medicine, so I was very worried about studying TCM and afraid of not doing well and disappointing Prof. Lin.” Wang recalled the concern when he first became the student of Prof.Lin. Knowing the concern of Wang Zhiyu, Lin made a prescription to him, which is “doing more clinical practice, learning from famous teachers, reading more classic books” to encourage him to find questions and the answers in clinical practice. Lin not only taught her clinical experience of TCM to Wang , but also boldly appointed this 30-year-old man to be the academic leader of Pl research team. Under her guidance, Wang developed rapidly and became the academic leader of discipline of oncology of integrated TCM and western medicine in Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, in addition, he was awarded the title of “Qi Huang Young Scholar”.

All her representative heirs make great achievements. For example, Chen Qianjun is the chairman of a secondary institution of national academy and awarded the title of “Outstanding Young Medical Talents of Guangdong Province” , Situ Honglin is the deputy chairman of a secondary institution of national academy, Chen Jianping is the professor of University of Hong Kong and Zhuo Rui is awarded the first “national outstanding students of inherit from TCM experience award”.

“Presently, my time doesn’t belong to myself, but it belongs to the society and people. I follow the Chinese Communist Party(CCP) and always ready for the CCP’s demand.” For Lin, practicing great medicine is her faith throughout her life, and patients are her motivation to keep developing. Her noble medical ethics and excellent medicine not only cure thousands of patients, but also set a example of good doctor, therefore she is known as the “guardian angel of women’s health”.



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