Acupuncture for Cancer during Chemotherapy and Radiation
Many of the symptoms associated with cancer and the side effects of
chemotherapy and radiation can be safely and effectively treated with
acupuncture. Currently, acupuncture is being recommended as a
complimentary therapy in several cancer hospitals and centers around the
Why would I use acupuncture during cancer treatments?
Acupuncture can help with many of the unwanted symptoms and side effects
of chemotherapy and radiation treatment such as:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Constipation and digestive difficulties
- Depression, anxiety and stress
- Neuropathy and pain
The World Health Organization has determined that acupuncture is an
effective treatment for many of these symptoms.
Acupuncture for various stages of cancer
- For conditions where the cancer is detected early, acupuncture can
maintain and promote the normal functioning of the body. Several studies
done primarily on animals have shown its ability to boost the immune
system and encourage the growth of healthy functioning cells. This could
be important for counteracting the result of radiation and chemotherapy
that tend to attack both normal and abnormal cells. An additional
benefit of acupuncture is that it can induce a state of deep calm and
relaxation and alleviate physical and emotional tensions.
- In cases where a tumour has formed, acupuncture can be used pre- and
post-operatively where appropriate as an adjuvant therapy to surgery,
radiation, or chemotherapy. According to a study done by Poulain (1997)
on 250 patients who underwent gynecological surgery for cancer,
acupuncture was shown to speed recovery time. A recent study done by
Aldridge (2001) on a series of 40 breast cancer patients, found that
acupuncture could reduce nausea and vomiting following surgery and
significantly reduce post-operative pain.
- For advanced stages of cancer, acupuncture can be used in conjunction
with other forms of palliative care to significantly reduce the
sensation of pain. In some cases, patients may be able to reduce the
dosage of pain medication substantially and thereby avoid the harsh side
effects that are often associated with them.
Has science proven that acupuncture works?
A meta-analysis of 11 randomized trials on acupuncture for
chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting demonstrated that acupuncture
reduced the incidence of acute vomiting and the severity of acute nausea.
When compared to antiemetic medications, acupuncture was found to be
superior for nausea. J Altern Complement Med. 2006 Jun; 12(5):489-95.
More published research : www.jensevaldsen.dk