Acupuncture for Cancer Side Effects

Acupuncture for Cancer Side Effects

            Acupuncture has become well-known to be a helpful modality in decreasing, and sometimes even depleting all together the side effects from cancer and chemotherapy. Although the most common cancer side effect that we hear about is nausea, vomiting, and fatigue, there are a multitude of other side effects from cancer and its treatments that are equally as hindering in one’s day to day life.

Cancer Side Effects Basics

            Usually patients that come in with these issues already know more than their fair share as to what is happening to them and why. However, they also may be seeing so many doctors that all of these issues become a blur. Chemotherapy is the current treatment of choice for most of those that suffer from cancer. It is a treatment that kills fast-growing cells which is what cancer cells are. Although it does do the job of killing fast-growing cancer cells, the problem is that it also can affect the healthy fast-growing cells which in-turn causes problematic side effects.

Common Chemotherapy Side Effects:

In western medicine, these side effects are usually managed with dietary changes, simple exercises, and over the counter medications that won’t interact with their various cancer prescription medications. These side effects can occur at any time before, during, or after treatment, and can affect each person very differently. Luckily, treating each person individually is exactly what we do best as acupuncture providers treating with eastern medicine.

Acupuncture & Cancer Side Effects

            Acupuncture works as a complementary treatment to conventional cancer treatments to strengthen and support the well-being and quality of life of our patients. It’s estimated that 75% of hospitalized cancer patients experience cancer-related pain, and as much as two thirds with metastatic cancer suffer cancer-related pain. In addition to pain, acupuncture is useful in relieving chemotherapy and radiation side effects such as those listed above. Acupuncture providers and most western medicine oncologists agree that a multidisciplinary treatment approach for cancer patients results in a better chance of remission or a better quality of life if the patient does not reach remission.
The main focus with cancer patient treatment is to support Qi, Blood, Yin, and Yang. Supporting Blood is extremely important because it carries oxygen and nutrients to the tissues, and aids in keeping them healthy. Additionally, it also filters out Co2, toxins, and waste products to support Qi. As we know, Qi supports the immune system, nervous system, and endocrine system, all of which are often compromised during radiation or chemotherapy treatment. Yin and Yang are also affected by cancer treatments, Yin being the most effected with the loss of moisture and fluid.

Acupuncture for Cancer Treatment Side Effects:

Acupuncture for Cancer Related Side-Effects

Acupuncture providers and most western medicine oncologists agree that although western medicine is making great strides in the way of cancer treatment, it is still not the only or most effective treatments the world of medicine has to offer. Most providers will tell you that cancer treatment is ultimately a culmination of many modalities with the hope of providing the patient with a better quality of life while dealing with cancer, and the ultimate goal of remission. We know that acupuncture can provide the relief they need from the conventional treatments that are necessary to sustain them or, best case, move them to a remission state.
Resources:
The Value of Acupuncture in Cancer Care. August 1, 2009. Accessed March 3, 2022. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2642987/
Scott L. Can Acupuncture Help Relieve Cancer Pain and Other Side Effects? Cancer.Net. November 29, 2016. Accessed March 3, 2022. https://www.cancer.net/blog/2016-11/can-acupuncture-help-relieve-cancer-pain-and-other-side-effects
Acupuncture PDQ – Patient Version. National Cancer Institute. November 12, 2020. Accessed March 3, 2022. https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/cam/patient/acupuncture-pdq
Acupuncture. Cancer Research UK. November 12, 2018. Accessed March 3, 2022. https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/cancer-in-general/treatment/complementary-alternative-therapies/individual-therapies/acupuncture
Bahar J. & Ting B. Acupuncture Treatment for Cancer Pain and Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy. The ASCO Post. November 15, 2014. Accessed March 3, 2022. https://ascopost.com/issues/november-15-2014/acupuncture-treatment-for-cancer-pain-and-chemotherapy-induced-peripheral-neuropathy/
Efficacy of Acupuncture in the Prevention and Treatment of Chemotherapy-Induced Nausea and Vomiting in Patients with Advanced Cancer. Biomed Central. June 3, 2020. Accessed March 3, 2022. https://cmjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13020-020-00333-x
Effect of Acupuncture vs Sham Procedure on Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy Symptoms. JAMA Network. March 11, 2020. Accessed March 3, 2022. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2762629
Jill ML. Relieving Side Effects of Cancer Treatments with Acupuncture. Side Effect Support. December 11, 2013. Accessed March 3, 2022. https://sideeffectsupport.com/blogs/survivor-caregiver/relieving-side-effects-of-cancer-treatments-with-acupuncture
Chemotherapy Side Effects. American Cancer Society. May 1, 2020. Accessed March 3, 2022. https://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatments-and-side-effects/treatment-types/chemotherapy/chemotherapy-side-effects.html
Study on Knowledge of Chemotherapy’s Adverse Effects and Their Self-Care Ability to Manage. Science Direct. July-September 2021. Accessed March 4, 2022. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2213398421000695
Effect of Acupuncture in Different Time on Nausea and Vomiting Induced by Chemotherapy of Lung Cancer. National Library of Medicine. December 12 2019. Accessed March 4, 2022. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31820600/
Clinical Evidence for Association of Acupuncture and Acupressure with Improved Cancer Pain. JAMA Oncology. December 19, 2019. Accessed March 4, 2022. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaoncology/fullarticle/2757396
Effects of Acupuncture on Cancer-Related Fatigue. National Library of Medicine. February 2018. Accessed March 4, 2022. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29128952/#:~:text=Acupuncture%20had%20a%20marked%20effect,sham%20acupuncture%20or%20usual%20care.
Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Changes and Saliva Production Associated with Acupuncture at LI-2 Acupuncture Point. BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies. July 7, 2008. Accessed March 4, 2022. https://bmccomplementmedtherapies.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1472-6882-8-37
Acupuncture for Hot Flashes in Cancer Patients. May 3, 2019. Accessed March 4, 2022. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6501481/#:~:text=Acupuncture%20has%20shown%20promising%20treatment,low%20incidence%20of%20adverse%20effects.&text=Mao%20et%20al17%20found,gabapentin%2C%20with%20fewer%20side%20effects
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