February 10, 2016

Cancer Related Symptoms & Acupuncture

Acupuncture is used in cancer treatment as complementary therapy. Research has documented the effectiveness of acupuncture in controlling cancer related symptoms such as the following:

  • Pain.
  • Fatigue.
  • Nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy.
  • Weight loss.
  • Anxiety.
  • Depression.
  • Insomnia.
  • Poor appetite.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Hot flashes.
  • Nerve problems.
  • Constipation and diarrhea.
  • Failure of gastrointestinal (GI) muscles to move food through the GI tract following surgery.
  • Lowered immunity.–from the National Cancer Center*

Pain Reduction

Of chief concern in cancer treatment is the management of pain. Acupuncture has proven effective in reducing the levels of self-reported pain. For example:

Outcome measures were obtained via thorough self-report questionnaires and compared with those administered at baseline. Forty-two patients successfully completed the study, and results were carefully analyzed. 90% of participants reported that pain severity and interference were significantly decreased at the end of treatment. 78% of participants had a reduction or no change in pain medications, while at the same time also experienced a clinically significant reduction in ‘worst pain,’ ‘least pain,’ ‘average pain,’ and ‘worst pain in 24 hours.’ Of those patients with a reduction in pain medication, 81% were prescribed opioids at baseline, and only 52% remained on opioids at follow-up. Importantly, no adverse effects were reported as a result of the study and 90% of participants rated the study satisfactory and “very useful.”**

**Garcia, Driver, Haddad, Lee, Palmer, Wei, Frenkel, Cohen. Pilot Study Supports the Use of Acupuncture for Pain Relief in Cancer Patients.  Integr Cancer Ther. 2014 Mar;13(2):133-40.

Louisville acupunctureIf you are in the Louisville area and interested in how acupuncture can be integrated into your plan of care, you can contact Jeffrey Russell at Abacus Chinese Medicine–Louisville Acupuncture and Chinese Herbalism. (502) 299-8900.

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