Monday, July 29, 2013

Research study: Acupuncture Helps With Cancer Fatigue

Cancer treatment, specifically radiation and chemotherapy, has the side effect of severe fatigue.  While this conventional therapy treats the cancer, the fatigue greatly affects quality of life and a person's ability to have the strength to under go the therapy.  So, many people undergoing chemotherapy and radiation choose to receive acupuncture to help decrease the negative side effects that include fatigue and nausea.  Acupuncture has been so successful in treating the negative side effects of cancer therapy, that it is often offered at cancer care facilities (one, two, three).  This is a great example of Traditional Chinese Medicine (acupuncture) being used as a complement to conventional medical therapy.  [Hence the term "complementary medicine".  complement = to complete, to fill in the gaps, to make something whole.]

A study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology in October 2012 supports that acupuncture helps people undergoing cancer treatment deal with fatigue and feel less fatigue than people undergoing cancer treatment who did not receive acupuncture.  The study observed 300 women with breast cancer receiving outpatient cancer treatment in the United Kingdom.  All had fatigue for 18 months prior to entering study.  The average age was 53.  227 of the 300 women received 20 minute acupuncture sessions every week for 6 weeks.  At the end of the 6 weeks, the women who received acupuncture reported feeling better than the non-acupuncture group in all measures tested:  overall fatigue, physical and mental fatigue, functional well-being, emotional well-being, social functioning, and overall quality of life.  Their conclusion:  "Acupuncture is an effective intervention for managing the symptom of CRF [cancer-related fatigue] and improving patients' quality of life" [Molassiotis et al.].


Molassiotis, A., J. Bardy, J. Finegan-John, P. Mackerth, D. Ryder, J. Filshi, E. Ream, and A. Richardson,.  "Acupuncture for Cancer-Related Fatigue in Patients with Breast Cancer:  A Pragmatic Randomized Controlled Trial", Journal of Clinical Oncology.  Published online before print October 29, 2012, doi: 10.1200/JCO.2012.41.6222 JCO vol. 30 no. 36 4470-4476

Bastyr University Cancer research links and new study on herbal therapy as complement to ongoing conventional cancer care treatment.

Study: Acupuncture Helps With Cancer Fatigue
Acupuncture Today February, 2013, Vol. 14, Issue 02


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