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Acupuncture for Management of Pain with Cancer Patients

Updated: May 23, 2022

Pain is one of the most common symptoms associated with cancer. It may be caused directly by the cancer lesion or by anticancer treatments administered to the patients. It was reported that approximately 25% of newly diagnosed cancer patients, 33% of patients undergoing anticancer treatments, and 75% of patients with advanced cancer suffer from pain.

With a variety of pain treatments, acupuncture is a widely used intervention, which is used to treat many symptoms and conditions associated with cancer and adverse effects related to cancer treatment.

Recent medical research in the United States has shown that acupuncture appears to be a safe and effective supplemental treatment for people who experience certain symptoms of cancer. It can also help manage some side effects of treatment, including chemotherapy, surgery, radiation therapy, and hormone therapy.

A recent study confirmed the earlier studies findings, At the 2020 ASCO Virtual Program, Dr. Mao – who is chief of Integrative Medicine Service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center – presented a study designed to evaluate the comparative effectiveness of electro-acupuncture and auricular acupuncture versus usual care in managing pain in cancer survivors.

“So, what we found that both electro-acupuncture and routine acupuncture are more effective in reducing pain intensity for cancer survivors. So, the average pain reductions are approximately a 2-point reduction which is a clinically meaningful reduction,” he explained.

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