According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), each day 3,400 people in the United States are diagnosed with cancer, and another 1,500 die from the disease. These numbers are increasing at an alarming rate. The NCI began studies to see if acupuncture is helpful during cancer treatments, like chemotherapy and radiation.
From the National Cancer Institute website:
Most studies of the use of acupuncture in cancer patients have been done in China. In 1997, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) began evaluating the safety and effectiveness of acupuncture as a complementary and alternative therapy.
Studies of the effect of acupuncture on the immune system
Human studies on the effect of acupuncture on the immune system of cancer patients showed that it improved immune system response.
Studies of the effect of acupuncture on pain
In clinical studies, acupuncture reduced the amount of pain in some cancer patients. In one study, most of the patients treated with acupuncture were able to stop taking drugs for pain relief or to take smaller doses. The findings from these studies are not considered strong, however, because of weaknesses in study design and size. Studies using strict scientific methods are needed to prove how acupuncture affects pain.
Studies of the effect of acupuncture on nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy
The strongest evidence of the effect of acupuncture has come from clinical trials on the use of acupuncture to relieve nausea and vomiting. Several types of clinical trials using different acupuncture methods showed acupuncture reduced nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy, surgery, and morning sickness. It appears to be more effective in preventing vomiting than in reducing nausea.
Studies of the effect of acupuncture on cancer and symptoms (other than nausea) caused by cancer treatment
Clinical trials are studying the effects of acupuncture on cancer and symptoms caused by cancer treatment, including weight loss, cough, chest pain, fever, anxiety, depression, night sweats, hot flashes, dry mouth, speech problems, and fluid in the arms or legs. Studies have shown that, for many patients, treatment with acupuncture either relieves symptoms or keeps them from getting worse.
The evidence shows that acupuncture used in conjunction with cancer treatments has a positive result on managing the side effects. Share this news with anyone you many know who is currently undergoing cancer treatments.