Acupuncture cannot treat cancer but can be used to treat a variety of symptoms and conditions associated with it and side effects of cancer treatments.
Cancer cannot be cured or treated with acupuncture but the procedure is helpful in overcoming cancer-related pain and fatigue, and keeping at bay some side effects associated with cancer treatments.
Benefits of acupuncture in people with cancer are:
- Relief from Cancer Pain: Some studies indicate that acupuncture can help in reducing the intensity of pain in patients for whom pain-reducing medication are not adequate.
- Reduced Post-Chemotherapy Fatigue: Acupuncture appears promising in the management of post-chemotherapy fatigue. According to a study conducted in 2007, patients with post-chemotherapy fatigue experienced significant improvement in general fatigue, physical fatigue, activity, and motivation. The results showed that even patients who practised acupressure on their own, noticed improvement in fatigue.
- Reduced Chemotherapy-Related Nausea and Vomiting: In a review of 11 clinical trials, it was noted that acupuncture could reduce post-chemotherapy vomiting. According to the review, acupressure could also reduce the severity of post-chemotherapy nausea.
- Reduced Radiation Side Effects: Studies on the effect of acupuncture on radiation related side effect have shown that acupuncture can provide relief from radiation-induced xerostomia (dry mouth), insomnia and anxiety.
Safety Precautions for Acupuncture
Acupuncture is a low-risk, safe and effective procedure when performed by a properly trained and licensed practitioner. But like any other procedure, there are certain risk and side effects associated with it.
Before starting acupuncture for relief of cancer-related health problems, consult your doctor about it. Do not stop your medications for cancer related side-effects without consulting your doctor.
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