Acupuncture for the treatment of hot flashes in breast cancer patients, a randomized, controlled trial. Breast Cancer Res Treat
Acupuncture has been used to treat the problem of hot flashes in healthy postmenopausal women. The object of this study was to investigate the efficacy of acupuncture in women with breast cancer suffering from hot flashes as a result of anti-oestrogen medication. In a prospective, controlled trial, 59 women suffering from hot flashes following breast cancer surgery and adjuvant oestrogen-antagonist treatment (Tamoxifen) were randomized to either 10 weeks of traditional Chinese acupuncture or sham acupuncture (SA). Mean number of hot flashes at day and night were recorded prior to treatment, during the treatment period as well as during the 12 weeks following treatment. A validated health score (Kupperman index) was conducted at baseline, at the end of the treatment period and at 12 weeks following treatment. During the treatment period mean number of hot flashes at day and night was significantly reduced by 50 and almost 60%, respectively from baseline in the acupuncture group, and was further reduced by 30% both at day and night during the next 12 weeks. In the sham acupuncture group a significant reduction of 25% in hot flashes at day was seen during treatment, but was reversed during the following 12 weeks. No reduction was seen in hot flashes at night. Kupperman index was reduced by 44% from baseline to the end of the treatment period in the acupuncture group, and largely maintained 12 weeks after treatment ended. No corresponding changes were seen in the sham acupuncture group. Acupuncture seems to provide effective relief from hot flashes both day and night in women operated for breast cancer, treated with Tamoxifen. This treatment effect seems to coincide with a general health improvement measured with the validated Kupperman index.
Available from: Maria Karmella Apaya
- "A course of acupuncture treatment has been found to reduce hot flushes associated with normal menopause and also from hormonal treatments for cancer. Studies found that acupuncture reduced hot flushes by up to 60% in women treated with tamoxifen for breast cancer [108, 110, 111, 205]. Those in the acupuncture group additionally reported improved libido, increased energy, and improved clarity of thought and sense of well-being. "
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ABSTRACT: Breast cancer is a life-threatening disease among women worldwide with annual rates of reported incidence and death increasing alarmingly. Chemotherapy is a recommended and effective treatment option for breast cancer; however, the narrow therapeutic indices and varied side effects of currently approved drugs present major hurdles in increasing its effectiveness. An increasing number of literature evidence indicate that complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) used in treatment-related symptom control and alleviation of side effects plays an important role in increasing survival rate and quality of life in breast cancer patients. This review focuses on the use of herbal medicines and acupuncture in palliative care and as adjuvants in the treatment of breast cancer. Herbal medicinal treatments, the correlation of clinical use with demonstrated in vitro and in vivo mechanisms of action, and the use of certain acupoints in acupuncture are summarized. The aim of this review is to facilitate an understanding of the current practice and usefulness of herbal medicine and acupuncture as adjuvants in breast cancer therapy.
Available from: Chia-Yu Liu
- "Another RCT enrolled breast cancer patients who had all taken tamoxifen for more than 3 months, and compared the Kupperman index and frequency of hot flashes between the patients who received true acupuncture (TA) and those who received sham acupuncture (SA). A significant benefit was found in this study. A systemic review indicated evidence from sham-controlled RCTs for the limited effects of acupuncture in treating hot flashes in breast cancer patients, and more pharmacologic agents, including megestrol acetate, clonidine, and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI), need to be tested. "
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ABSTRACT: Oncology acupuncture has become a new and promising field of research because more and more cancer patients have sought non-pharmacological alternatives for symptom management. While different mechanisms have been proposed to explain its efficacy, including theories of the neural system, endocrine cytokine or immunological regulation, its eventual role has become that of alleviating the side effects induced by chemotherapy or radiotherapy. In this paper, we have reviewed the related articles focusing on acupuncture mechanisms and applications in cancer care to provide a quick sketch of acupuncture in cancer care. A detailed search was performed to identify the randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and systematic reviews on acupuncture in oncology, using PUBMED and Cochrane. The search terms included: Acupuncture, acupressure, and cancer. Additional terms were used to target specific symptoms (i.e., breast cancer, hot flash, xerostomia, nausea, vomiting, cancer pain, insomnia, fatigue). Two authors independently extracted data for analysis and review. Ultimately, 25 articles underwent full-text review. Recent trials made efforts in studying (a) hot flashes in breast cancer, (b) xerostomia induced by radiotherapy in head and neck cancer, (c) nausea and vomiting post-chemotherapy, (d) cancer pain, and (e) fatigue and insomnia in cancer patients. Controversial results for acupuncture application in cancer care appeared in different categories, but a trend emerged that acupuncture can palliate cancer-related symptoms. The research to date certainly offers us a valid complementary therapy in treating cancer-related symptoms. Meanwhile, practical strategies with safe measures for enhancing the efficacy are needed in further interventions, as well as continuing research with a validated methodology.
- "The majority of physicians surveyed believe that acupuncture is useful for symptom relief and improving QOL, but rarely recommended acupuncture to their patients. Numerous studies have shown acupuncture to be a useful adjunct to relieving cancer and treatment-related symptoms [23–55]. Most of this research has been performed in the West, while most research on TCM cancer care in China is focused on herbals. "
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ABSTRACT: Background. In China, the use of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is very popular, but little is known about how it is integrated with conventional cancer care. We conducted parallel surveys of patients and physicians on TCM utilization. Methods. Two hundred forty-five patients and 72 allopathic physicians at the Fudan University Shanghai Cancer Center completed questions on their use of and attitude towards TCM. Results. Patient mean age was 51, with 60% female. Eighty-three percent of patients had used TCM. Use was greatest for Chinese herbal medicine (CHM; 55.8%). Only 1.3% of patients used acupuncture and 6.8% Qi Gong or Tai Qi. Sixty-three percent of patients notified their oncologist about TCM use. The most common reason for use was to improve immune function. CHM was often used with a goal of treating cancer (66.4%), a use that 57% of physicians agreed with. Physicians were most concerned with interference with treatment, lack of evidence, and safety. Ninety percent of physicians have prescribed herbs and 87.5% have used TCM themselves. Conclusion. The use of TCM by Chinese cancer patients is exceptionally high, and physicians are generally well informed and supportive of patients' use. Botanical agents are much more commonly used than acupuncture or movement-based therapies.
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