East West Acupuncture

East West Acupuncture

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Acupuncture has a valuable role to play in the palliative care of cancer patients. Besides helping with nausea and vomiting, acupuncture can effectively treat pain, xerostomia (dry mouth), breathlessness, hot flashes, edema, depression and other symptoms associated with either the cancer itself or the cancer therapy. In one controlled trial of 69 patients with lung cancer, the acupuncture treatment group showed significant increase in CD4 and CD11 cells as well as a reduction in digestive, respiratory and mental symptoms. (Ouyang, Cao &Cao 1992). In a randomized controlled trial of 76 patients with lung, esophagus or stomach cancer receiving radiotherapy or chemotherapy, the acupuncture group had significantly smaller weight loss, as well as improvement of symptoms and increase in lymphocyte rosette formation. (Xia et al 1986) (see section on IMMUNOLOGY)

Johnstone PA, Polston GR, Niemtzow RC, Martin PJ. Integration of acupuncture into the oncology clinic. Palliat Med 2002 May;16(3):235-9. RESULTS: Major reasons for referral included pain (53%), xerostomia (32%), hot flashes (6%) and nausea/loss of appetite (6%). Patients had a mean of five acupuncture visits (range 1-9). Most patients (60%) showed at least 30% improvement in their symptoms. About one-third of patients had no change in severity of symptoms. There were no untoward effects reported related to the acupuncture. When analysed by diagnosis, these values persist. Irrespective of response to therapy, 86% of respondents considered it ‘very important’ that we continue to provide acupuncture services. CONCLUSION: Acupuncture may contribute to control of symptoms for cancer patients.

Filshie J, Penn K, Ashley S, Davis C L 1996 Acupuncture for the relief of cancer-related breathlessness. Palliative Medicine 10:145-150. RESULTS: “Seventy per cent (14/20) of patients reported marked symptomatic benefit from treatment; there were significant changes in VAS scores of breathlessness, relaxation and anxiety at least up to 6 hours post acupuncture which were measured to be maximal at 90 minutes (p < 0.005, p < 0.001, respectively). There was a significant reduction in respiratory rate, which was sustained for 90 minutes post acupuncture (p < 0.02).”

Vopr Onkol 1988;34(3):319-22. Acupuncture in edema of the extremities following radiation or combination therapy of cancer of the breast and uterus. [Article in Russian] Bardychev MS, Guseva LI, Zubova ND. CONCLUSIONS: “Radionuclide and rheographic studies as well as evaluation of hemostatic function showed acupuncture to be an effective treatment for edema and pain. It also improved lymph flow, rheovasographic indexes and normalized hemostasis.”

Hammar M, Frisk J, Grimas O, Hook M, Spetz AC, Wyon Y. Acupuncture treatment of vasomotor symptoms in men with prostatic carcinoma: a pilot study. J Urol 1999 Mar;161(3):853-6. RESULTS: “Of the 7 men 6 completed at least 10 weeks of acupuncture therapy and all had a substantial decrease in the number of hot flushes (average 70% after 10 weeks). At 3 months after the last treatment the number of flushes was 50% lower than before therapy. Acupuncture may be a therapeutic alternative in men with hot flushes after castration therapy and merits further evaluation.”

Ouyang Q, Cao M, Cao Q 1992 An observation on the effect of moxibustion on the immunological functions in 69 cases of lung cancer. International Journal of Clinical Acupuncture 3(4):369-373

Xia Y Q, Zhang D, Yang J C, Xu I I, Li Y, Ma L 1986 An approach to the effect on humours of acupuncture in combination with radiotherapy or chemotherapy. Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine 6(1):23-26

Brule-Fermand S. Treatment of chronic cancer pain. Contribution of acupuncture, auriculotherapy and mesotherapy [Article in French] Soins 1993 Jan;(568):39-40.

Xu S, Liu Z, Xu M. Treatment of cancerous abdominal pain by acupuncture on zusanli (ST 36)--a report of 92 cases. J Tradit Chin Med 1995 Sep;15(3):189-91

Alimi D, Rubino C, Leandri EP, Brule SF. Analgesic effects of auricular acupuncture for cancer pain. J Pain Symptom Manage 2000 Feb;19(2):81-2

Wong R, Sagar CM, Sagar SM. Integration of Chinese medicine into supportive cancer care: a modern role for an ancient tradition. Cancer Treat Rev 2001 Aug;27(4):235-46

Filshie J, Redman D. Acupuncture and malignant pain problems. Eur J Surg Oncol 1985 Dec;11(4):389-94