Acupuncture eases side effects and symptoms of some cancers

September 6th, 2010 - 3:48 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Sep 6 (ANI): A number of recent studies have shown that acupuncture can help control a number of symptoms and side effects-such as pain, fatigue, dry mouth, nausea, and vomiting-associated with a variety of cancers and their treatments.

Memorial Sloan-Kettering investigators have determined that acupuncture could reduce pain and dysfunction in individuals with cancer of the head or neck.

The study evaluated 58 patients who were suffering from chronic pain or dysfunction as a result of neck dissection.

For four weeks, study participants were randomly assigned into one of two groups: those receiving weekly acupuncture sessions and those receiving standard care, which included physical therapy, as well as pain and antiinflammatory medication.

The study found that individuals in the group receiving acupuncture experienced significant reductions in pain and dysfunction when compared with individuals receiving standard care.

Individuals in the acupuncture group also reported significant improvement in xerostomia, a condition in which patients receiving adjuvant radiation therapy experience extreme dry mouth.

In a commentary on the subject in the September 2009 issue of Expert Reviews Anticancer Therapies, Memorial Sloan-Kettering investigators reported that among the complementary therapies used to decrease symptoms and side effects, acupuncture is very beneficial for symptom management.

In a study in February 2010 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology, 50 women with hormone-receptor positive breast cancer were assigned into one of two groups.

The first group received 12 weeks of acupuncture, and the second group received treatment with venlafaxine.

Both groups experienced significant decreases in hot flashes, depressive symptoms, and other quality-of-life symptoms. However, women in the group taking venlafaxine began to re-experience their symptoms about two weeks after stopping drug therapy.

In comparison, it took 15 weeks for the symptoms to return for women in the group receiving acupuncture. In addition, women in the acupuncture group reported no significant side effects during treatment, while the group taking venlafaxine experienced 18 incidences of adverse effects, including nausea, dry mouth, dizziness, and anxiety.

The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. (ANI)

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