Acupuncture After Breast Cancer Treatment

According to the latest study conducted by the researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, acupuncture is considered a feasible option for women complaining of hot flashes following treatment with estrogen-targeting therapies for breast cancer.


According to researchers, acupuncture can be effective on women who had breast cancer treatments and they are experiencing hot flashes.

In the survivors of breast cancer, hot flashes are severe and seen frequently, but the measures approved by FDA  for the treatment of these episodes such as hormone replacement therapy are not suitable for the survivors of breast cancer due to the presence of estrogen. The study results are published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Jun J. Mao, MD, MSCE, an associate professor in the department of community health and family medicine, said that the majority of people relate hot flashes with menopause, this episode may also appear in women surviving breast cancer who are having low levels of estrogen and  usually undergo premature menopause  after being treated with surgery or chemotherapy.

The results of the latest research clearly highlight the promising role acupuncture in the control of hot flashes in breast cancer survivors, which was also proven effective for joint pain in the same population in previous studies.

In general, hot flushes are the transient episodes of flushing, racing heartbeat, sweating and heat sensations. The actual cause of hot flashes is not known though they are closely linked with decreased levels of estrogen.

Study details

The team of researchers have enrolled a total of 120 breast cancer survivors experiencing multiple episodes of hot flashes in a day. The participants were then distributed randomly into four different interventions to check the efficacy of acupuncture technique known as electro acupuncture (embedded needles delivering weak electrical currents) compared to an epilepsy drug gabapentin in reducing the incidence of hot flushes. The participants were given the following treatments for the period of 8 weeks:

  • gabapentin (900 mg) daily
  • gabapentin placebo daily,
  • electro acupuncture twice a week for  two weeks then once weekly
  • “sham” electro acupuncture (involves  no needle penetration or electric current)

After a period of 8 weeks, it was found that participants in the electroacupuncture group have maximum improvement in the standard measurement severity and frequency of hot flashes also known as the Hot flash composite score(HFCS).

Along with the reduction in frequency and severity of hot flushes, both the groups of acupuncture also showed lesser side effects than the pill groups.

The Penn researchers have followed these subjects for another sixteen weeks after the end of the treatment and have observed that both the acupuncture groups enjoyed a lasting and better control over hot flashes, and the pill-placebo groups showed only minimal improvement in the symptoms, Whereas worsening in the hot flashes was observed in the group taking gabapentin.

Evidence from the previous studies suggests that acupuncture works by directly enhancing the levels of endorphins and their associated pain killing and mood elevating molecules.

This article briefly describes the role of acupuncture in controlling hot flashes. You can get details by following the given link.
Source: Acupuncture reduces hot flashes in breast cancer survivors, September 3, 2015

Dr. Adem GunesDr. Adem Gunes has built the world’s largest database of scientifically tested natural substances with proven effects in cancer treatments. In 2009, he was appointed as the Chief Physician of ProLife Clinic in Innsbruck, Austria, and played a key role in the establishment of the research laboratory. He is also the co-founder of the first Austrian hyperthermia center. Now, Dr. Adem works closely with cancer patients from around the world (including Germany, Thailand, Dubai) to recommend them a complementary cancer clinic or to create a personalized care plan for patients to follow at home.

A Look at the Complementary Treatment Options for Cancer

Complementary Treatment Options For Cancer

Bonnie Coberly is a Certified Health Counselor at Natural Horizons Wellness Centers.

Most people diagnosed with cancer are aware of the standard medicine options — chemotherapy, radiation therapy and so on — but they unfortunately don’t hear as much about the other side of complementary treatments. The thing is, cancer treatment is aggressive and powerful; it has to be, in order to successfully combat the disease. But because it is so intense, traditional cancer treatment often comes with side effects. These side effects, which range from pain and nausea to fatigue and discouragement, are tough to face, too. That’s where complementary treatments and therapies come into play. By engaging in activities like yoga or acupuncture, for example, or by making certain diet and lifestyle changes, patients often find relief and help in the midst of cancer care.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the leading complementary treatment options for cancer, along with what advantages they offer:

Traditional Chinese Medicine: A major part of Chinese medicine is Chinese herbal medicine, a discipline that focuses on restoring the natural balances of energy to the body and spirit. This treatment can help alleviate patient complaints and symptoms associated with medical care. According to most Chinese herbalists, “[H]erbal remedies can help ease the side effects of standard cancer treatments, control pain, improve quality of life, strengthen the immune system, and in some cases, stop tumor growth and spread,” says the American Cancer Society®. Herbs are available in various teas, tinctures, powders, pills, syrups, etc., and may be purchased at health food stories as well as from traditional Chinese practitioners.

Acupuncture: A form of ancient Chinese medicine, acupuncture offers several benefits for cancer patients. “It’s been shown that acupuncture reduces nausea and vomiting after surgery and chemotherapy,” says Cancer Treatment Centers of America®. “In addition, research has shown that it can relieve pain, possibly by triggering the body’s pain-killing chemicals and by inducing the release of chemicals that regulate blood pressure and flow.”

Hypnosis: Because hypnotherapy moves a person into a deeply relaxed, trance-like state, it can be helpful in managing pain and stress in a patient’s life. “A report from the American National Institute for Health in 1996 stated that hypnosis can help to reduce some kinds of cancer pain,” says Cancer Research U.K. What’s more, “in 2012, researchers in Spain again reviewed studies of children with cancer and found that hypnosis appeared to help reduce pain and distress from cancer or from medical procedures.”

Yoga: Long known as a relaxing, meditative form of exercise, yoga also offers distinct advantages to cancer patients. “Research has shown that yoga can be used to control physical functions such as blood pressure, heart rate, breathing, metabolism, body temperature, brain waves, and skin resistance,” says the American Cancer Society. It can relieve stress, improve sleep and fight feelings of anxiety and/or depression.

Balanced Diet: While there are many different diets and eating plans recommended for cancer patients, if you are undergoing or recovering from cancer treatment, the most important thing to remember is to give your body support. To do this, the American Cancer Society recommends “eating a balanced diet that includes five or more servings a day of vegetables and fruit, choosing whole grains over processed and refined foods, and limiting meats and animal fats.” It goes on to suggest that it “is best to choose foods from a variety of fruits, vegetables and other plant sources such as nuts, seeds, whole grain cereals, and beans to take in all needed nutrients.” By supporting your body through a balanced diet that minimizes processed food and junk, you give it fuel to heal during treatment.

Art or Music Therapy: Designed to reduce stress, anxiety and fear in a patient, both art and music therapy can be helpful outlets for patients who are undergoing the often emotionally taxing and physically draining cancer treatment process. In music therapy, patients enjoy musical experiences that are designed to relieve pain, nausea, depression, stress, etc. In art therapy, they get a chance to creatively use materials to both express themselves and work out their feelings. In both types of therapy, sessions can be catered to the individual needs of the patient. Plus, “researchers have found that music therapy, when used with anti-nausea drugs for patients receiving high-dose chemotherapy, can help ease nausea and vomiting,” says the American Cancer Society. Likewise, “numerous case studies have reported that art therapy benefits patients with both emotional and physical illnesses,” it also states.

Wherever a patient is in his or her cancer journey, turning to complementary treatment options can be a wonderful resource. These supportive therapies offer assistance and help outside standard medical care, as well as a tangible way to move toward better quality of life.

Bonnie Coberly At Natural Horizons Wellness CenterAuthor Bio: Bonnie Coberly is a Certified Health Counselor and a holistic health counselor. Bonnie uses her knowledge and experience to educate her clients at Natural Horizons Wellness Centers to reach their wellness goals.

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