Past studies have demonstrated acupuncture can help maintain numerous symptoms and side effects such as pain, fatigue and nausea linked to an assortment of cancers and their perspective treatments.
Specialists of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center’s Integrative Medicine Service, in New York and New Jersey locations, have either administered or examined numerous studies of acupuncture and cancer, have now suggested that cancer patients who are interested in acupuncture look for a certified or licensed acupuncturist who has had previous experience working with patients who have cancer.
Acupuncture is over two thousand year old from of Chinese Medicine. Acupuncture is stimulation by the insertion of fine needles on certain points on the body. The stimulation of acupuncture releases the endorphins (bodies natural painkiller), heat, pressure and electric stimulation may also be used in the treatment.
The acupuncturist will go over your medical history in order to determine which points need to be addressed. Sessions on average range about thirty minutes in duration. Acupuncture is a totally painless procedure.
The Centers for Disease and Control Prevention state that every year greater than eight million persons have sought out acupuncture treatments for numerous conditions. There have been studies conducted which had provided evidence it can be effective in the treatment of numerous conditions including back pain and headaches. It also has been used to ease the pain associated with cancer and the side effects of cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
Head and Neck Cancer
The American Cancer Society estimates show that there are 60,000 Americans diagnosed each year with head and neck cancer including cancer of the larynx and thyroid. Head and neck cancer is a term which is given to various malignant tumors that appear in the head and neck area referred to as the oral cavity, the pharynx(throat), para-nasal sinuses, and nasal cavity. Along with the larynx, thyroid, and salivary glands including lesions of the skin on the face and neck and the cervical lymph nodes.
Published in April of this year, in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, a study appears which was executed by Memorial Sloan-Kettering researchers in order to determine if acupuncture had the ability to decrease pain and dysfunction in persons of this type of cancer who had received surgery for their lymph nodes in their neck. The study evaluated 58 who were enduring chronic pain or dysfunction as a result from the surgery. During a four week course, the participants had been randomly assigned into one of two groups: those that received weekly acupuncture treatments and those who received conventional treatments which had included physical therapy along with pain and anti-inflammatory medications.
The result findings had indicated that those in the acupuncture group had considerable decreases in pain and dysfunction in comparison to those receiving conventional treatments. This included improvements of xerostomia meaning abnormal dryness of the mouth which occurs frequently in patients receiving radiation treatments.
Each year in the United States greater than 40,800 adults and 3,500 children are diagnosed with this disease. Leukemia starts in the tissues which develop the blood. In those persons who have leukemia, the bone marrow produces abnormal white blood cells. These are the leukemia cells. They work opposite of those normal cells, these cells do not die off when they should. They can shove out normal white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets. This makes it difficult for normal blood cells to do their work.
For many persons with leukemia they seek alternative care in hopes of managing their symptoms and hopefully improve the outcomes of their treatments. In the September 2009 issue of Expert Reviews Anticancer Therapies, a commentary on this subject was published. Researchers from Sloan-Kettering had analyzed the outcomes from available studies testing the effectiveness in these methods. Their reported findings had stated that among those alternative therapies in order to lessen symptoms and side effects of treatments acupuncture had proved beneficial in managing symptoms.
The medications used in chemotherapy can harm the peripheral neuropathy is when there is a problem with the nerves in which send information to and from the brain and spinal cord. This can result in pain, loss of feeling and not being able to control muscles. There are times when physicians have to decrease the dosage of the chemo medication so the neuropathy does not go further than its current state. Acupuncture has been shown to reduce these symptoms, therefore allowing the physician to be able to give the maximum allotment of the medication and providing greater chances for the patient to have a successful outcome from the treatment.
Acupuncture can help reduce the symptoms of nausea caused by numerous chemicals which are used in chemotherapy medications. Research indicates that having acupuncture treatments one to two days prior to chemotherapy session and continuing each week while chemotherapy treatments are going on seems to have better results. Acupuncture has been proved to be safe for patients who take anti-coagulation medications Coumadin® or heparin during the treatments.
The most recent estimations for the year 2010 of breast cancer from the American Cancer Society shows that 207,090 cases of invasive breast cancer and 54,110 carcinoma in stiu(CIS) non invasive cases in women.
A great number of breast cancers have receptors for the hormone estrogen. These receptor positive tumors are most likely to show positive response to therapy using anti-estrogen medications. Usually women with these type of tumors receive treatments which block production of estrogen which is to slow down the tumor growth. However, these treatments can bring on early menopause which can produce symptoms including hot flashes and fatigue. Usual treatment is hormone replacement in which women going through breast cancer treatment of this type cannot receive. Conventional treatments then consist of medications such as anti-depressants like Effexor.
Just recently a study had investigated if acupuncture could reduce some of the side effects along with some of the adverse effects of anti-depressants. In the February issue of Journal of Clinical Oncology, the study had been published. In the study 50 women who had hormone positive receptor breast cancer were placed into one of two groups that had treatments for a length of twelve weeks. One group had acupuncture and the other group had received the medication Effexor.
Both of the groups did have noticeable reduction in hot flashes, symptoms of depression and other life quality symptoms. However, the women who had received the medication had a reoccurring incidents of their symptoms within two weeks upon the discontinuation of the medication. In the acupuncture group it had taken fifteen weeks for the symptoms to reoccur. Women who had the acupuncture also relayed the fact they had a reduction of side effects during the treatments. However, the group who took Effexor had eighteen occurrences of negative side effects that had included nausea, anxiety and cotton mouth.
Locating An Acupuncturist
The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine(NCCAOM) have a list of practitioners who have national certification in Oriental Medicine, acupuncture, Chinese herbology and Asian Body Work.
It is important to remember that just because one alternative treatment may work on some it does not necessarily mean it will work on all persons. All persons need to research and decide what alternative treatments are of interest to them and try several till they find the best treatment and the alternative practitioner in which they feel they can have a sound relationship for treatment care with.Sources:
Support for people with oral, head and neck cancer
National Cancer Institute
American Cancer Society
Medical News Today