Acupuncture, Cancer, and Chemotherapy

Did you know that acupuncture can help to reduce the symptoms and side effects associated with a variety of cancer treatments, such as pain, fatigue, dry mouth, nausea, and vomiting? In fact, the Huntsman Cancer Institute now has an acupuncturist on its staff.

Many of our patients who have undergone chemotherapy and radiation treatments have said that getting acupuncture was an essential part in helping to cope with their symptoms and to support their recovery. Research studies have also demonstrated that acupuncture is very beneficial for symptom management.  

For example, acupuncture has been shown to help with neuropathy, a common side effect of certain chemotherapy drugs, which results in pain, numbness, tingling, and swelling in different parts of the body, most commonly in the hands and feet. Acupuncture is also an effective treatment for the nausea and vomiting that is caused by a variety of chemotherapy agents. For women with breast cancer, anti-estrogen medications can induce early menopause, which may cause hot flashes and fatigue. Acupuncture has been shown to help reduce these symptoms as well. Finally, acupuncture can help alleviate pain, fatigue, and other symptoms related to cancer treatments.

Resources, and for more information:

Huntsman Cancer Institute, Acupuncture Research and Evidence-Based Outcomes, http://healthcare.utah.edu/huntsmancancerinstitute/patient-care/clinics-and-care-teams/wellness-survivorship-center/programs-and-services/acupuncture/acupuncture-research-and-outcomes.php

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Integrative Medicine: Acupuncture, http://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/herb/acupuncture

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Acupuncture Helps Ease Side Effects and Symptoms of Some Cancers, http://www.mskcc.org/news/announcement/acupuncture-helps-ease-side-effects-and-symptoms-some