Acupuncture is becoming increasingly popular as part of an integrative approach to treating the symptoms/manifestations of cancer as well as the side effects of Western treatments. Research (clinical trials) has, and continues to be done on acupuncture and its effects on cancer patients in prominent centers such as MD Anderson and Sloan Kettering, as well as in other places throughout the US, Europe, and China.
Additionally, many of these centers currently have an Integrative Medicine department where they provide acupuncture for cancer patients and survivors.
Acupuncture may benefit patients and those in recovery by treating/effecting:
- Pain management
- Gastro-intestinal side effects (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, loss of appetitie)
- Hot flashes
- Unremitting hiccups
- Immune support
From the National Cancer Institute:
“Acupuncture may cause physical responses to nerve cells, the pituitary gland, and parts of the brain. These responses can cause the body to release proteins, hormones, and brain chemicals that control a number of body functions. It is proposed that, in this way, acupuncture affects blood pressure and body temperature, boosts immune system activity, and causes the body’s natural pain killers, such as endorphnins, to be released.”