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The Role of Acupuncture in Oncology

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) recognizes the relevance of acupuncture in oncology treatment.

Acupuncture may be used clinically as a complementary therapy to:
  1)   Manage cancer-related symptoms; (1)(4)
  2)   Treat the side effects induced by anticancer therapies;
  3)   Boost blood cell count (red, white, platelets);
  4)   Enhance the activity of lymphocytes and NK cells (Natural Killers).

The symptoms currently alleviated by acupuncture in oncology are:
  -  Cancer pain (4)(5)
  -  Chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting (6)(7)
  -  Quality of life symptoms experienced by the patient, notably
          -  Weight loss
          -  Anxiety
          -  Depression
          -  Insomnia
          -  Poor appetite
          -  Fatigue
          -  Xerostomia (dry mouth)
          -  Hot flashes
          -  Peripheral neuropathy induced by chemotherapy
          -  Gastrointestinal symptoms (constipation and diarrhea)
          -  Postoperative ileus (8)(10)

Acupuncture is secure when administered by a licensed professional acupuncturist. Acupuncture is equally acceptable and without danger for children. (11)(12). In Québec, acupuncturists are regulated since 1995 by the Order of Acupuncturists of Quebec. The Order requires that all its members use sterile single use disposable needles which totally eliminates the problem of infection by a contaminated needle. Acupuncturists adapt their treatments according to the patients’ health condition. Adding acupuncture and TCM in oncology provides important complementary benefits. Acupuncture reduces physical and emotional suffering, reduces the side effects of treatments and thus improves the quality of life.  

SOURCE - For Health Professionals - oct 2018

Références - National Cancer Institute
1- Wong R, Sagar CM, Sagar SM: Integration of Chinese medicine into supportive cancer care: a modern role for an ancient tradition. Cancer Treat Rev 27 (4): 235-46, 2001. [PUBMED Abstract]
2- Pan CX, Morrison RS, Ness J, et al.: Complementary and alternative medicine in the management of pain, dyspnea, and nausea and vomiting near the end of life. A systematic review. J Pain Symptom Manage 20 (5): 374-87, 2000. [PUBMED Abstract]
3- Norheim AJ, Fønnebø V: Attitudes to the contribution of placebo in acupuncture--a survey. Complement Ther Med 10 (4): 202-9, 2002. [PUBMED Abstract]
4- Sellick SM, Zaza C: Critical review of 5 nonpharmacologic strategies for managing cancer pain. Cancer Prev Control 2 (1): 7-14, 1998. [PUBMED Abstract]
5- Charlton JE: Cancer pain management. Cah Anesthesiol 41 (6): 621-4, 1993. [PUBMED Abstract]
6- Ezzo J, Vickers A, Richardson MA, et al.: Acupuncture-point stimulation for chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. J Clin Oncol 23 (28): 7188-98, 2005. [PUBMED Abstract]
7- Ezzo JM, Richardson MA, Vickers A, et al.: Acupuncture-point stimulation for chemotherapy-induced nausea or vomiting. Cochrane Database Syst Rev (2): CD002285, 2006. [PUBMED Abstract]
8- Xia YQ, Zhang D, Yang CX, et al.: An approach to the effect on tumors of acupuncture in combination with radiotherapy or chemotherapy. J Tradit Chin Med 6 (1): 23-6, 1986. [PUBMED Abstract]
9- Johnstone PA, Polston GR, Niemtzow RC, et al.: Integration of acupuncture into the oncology clinic. Palliat Med 16 (3): 235-9, 2002. [PUBMED Abstract]
10- Niemtzow RC: Integration of complementary disciplines into the oncology clinic. Part I. Acupuncture. Curr Probl Cancer 24 (4): 184-93, 2000 Jul-Aug. [PUBMED Abstract]
11- Kemper KJ, Sarah R, Silver-Highfield E, et al.: On pins and needles? Pediatric pain patients' experience with acupuncture. Pediatrics 105 (4 Pt 2): 941-7, 2000. [PUBMED Abstract]
12- Chokshi SK, Ladas EJ, Taromina K, et al.: Predictors of acupuncture use among children and adolescents with cancer. Pediatr Blood Cancer 64 (7): , 2017. [PUBMED Abstract]

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