Cancer-related fatigue after chemotherapy is a difficult symptom to manage in practice and the most disruptive symptom in patients' lives. Acupuncture is a popular complementary therapy among cancer patients and some evidence exists that it could potentially alleviate fatigue by stimulating 'energy' points in the body. Hence, this study was carried out to assess the effects of acupuncture and acupressure in managing cancer-related fatigue and the feasibility of running a randomised trial with these two complementary therapies in preparation for a large trial.
This study was a randomised controlled trial. Forty-seven patients with cancer who experienced moderate to severe fatigue were randomised either to an acupuncture group (n=15), an acupressure group (n=16) or a sham acupressure group (n=16). The acupuncture group received six 20-min sessions over 2 weeks, while the patients in the two acupressure groups were taught to massage/press the points and did so daily thereafter for 2 weeks on their own. Patients completed the Multidimensional Fatigue Inventory before randomisation, at the end of the 2-week intervention and again about 2 weeks after the end of the intervention.
Significant improvements were found with regards to General fatigue (P<0.001), Physical fatigue (P=0.016), Activity (p=0.004) and Motivation (P=0.024). At the end of the intervention, there was a 36% improvement in fatigue levels in the acupuncture group, while the acupressure group improved by 19% and the sham acupressure by 0.6%. Improvements were observed even 2 weeks after treatments, although they were lower (22%, 15%, 7%, respectively). Acupuncture was a more effective method than acupressure or sham acupressure. Subjects needed a longer treatment period to have more sustained results. The trial was methodologically feasible.
Acupuncture shows great potential in the management of cancer-related fatigue. As a randomised trial with acupuncture is feasible and preliminary data shows significant improvements, it should be tested further using a large sample and a multicentre design.
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"For example , some cancer survivors find that acupuncture is helpful for management of late and long-term treatment adverse effects. One small, randomized controlled trial (N=80) suggested that acupuncture was more beneficial than fluoxetine for sleep , and four randomized controlled trials (patient numbers ranged from 50 to 302) suggested that acupuncture reduced depression more than medications or usual conventional medical care1819202122. Acupuncture also was found to be a better therapy for anxiety than usual care (N=302) . However, data are limited and mixed (particularly from studies that randomly assigned participants to real or sham acupuncture) [23, 24]. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: The purpose of the study was to learn about the level of experience with, interest in, and desire for knowledge about integrative medicine (IM) among cancer survivors.
Cancer survivors attending the 2014 National Cancer Survivors Day in Rochester, MN, were recruited to participate in a one-page survey about their ongoing health concerns and symptoms, as well as their experience with, interest in, and desire for knowledge about IM. Two-sided t test was used for univariate analyses of impact of sex, time since diagnosis, and age.
Among the 260 cancer survivors, 171 persons (female, 74 %; male, 26 %) completed the survey (mean age, 64.6 years). Symptoms most commonly somewhat or more bothersome were fear of recurrence (52 %), stress (43 %), fatigue (43 %), difficulty sleeping (33 %), and weight gain (31 %). The most used IM resources were exercise (75 %), improved nutrition and diet (66 %), stress management (42 %), dietary supplementation (33 %), meditation (25 %), and massage (22 %). Older patients (age, ≥65 years) were less experienced with, interested in, and desiring of knowledge about IM techniques. Sex and time since diagnosis were not strongly predictive of most survey response categories.
Cancer survivors have adverse effects for years into survivorship. They use and express interest in various IM techniques to help manage symptoms. It is critical that oncology providers help survivors address ongoing health concerns. Education about and access to evidence-based IM techniques may have important roles in comprehensive cancer survivorship programs.
Full-text · Article · Feb 2015 · Supportive Care Cancer
"In a prospective phase II study on patients with persistent fatigue who had previously completed chemotherapy, acupuncture resulted in a significant reduction in baseline fatigue scores . Further four RCTs showed that acupuncture was associated with a significant improvement in general fatigue scores [213–216]. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]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.
Full-text · Article · Jun 2013 · Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
"Acupuncture: Balk et al (Balk et al., 2009) claimed no subjects experienced adverse events. Molassiotis et al (Molassiotis et al., 2007) (published in 2007) reported spot bleeding in 2/90 cases, bruise in one point in 1/90 patients, 1 patient feeling nauseous after the end of treatment, no severe ones were seen. Molassiotis et al (Molassiotis et al., 2012) (published in 2012) stated that therapists completed a form verifying adverse effects after each session, but no corresponding descriptions afterwards. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Background: Faced with highly prevalent and recalcitrant cancer-related fatigue (CRF), together with the absence of any official guidelines on management, numerous groups have been striving to seek and test alternative therapies including acupuncture and moxibustion. However, different patients have various feedbacks, and the many clinical trials have given rise to varied conclusions. In terms of the therapeutic effect of acupuncture and moxibustion, there exist vast inconsistencies. Objective: The aim of the study was to evaluate the auxiliary effectiveness of acupuncture and moxibustion in the treatment of CRF, and to provide more reliable evidence to guide clinical practice. Methods: Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) published before December 2012 were all aggregated, focusing on evaluation of acupuncture or moxibustion for CRF. The quality of the included studies was assessed basing on Cochrane handbook 5.1.0, and the available data were analyzed with RevMan software (version 5.2.0). Descriptive techniques were performed when no available data could be used. Results: A total of 7 studies involving 804 participants were eligible. With real acupuncture versus sham acupuncture, subjects receiving true acupuncture benefited more in the reduction of fatigue. With real acupuncture versus acupressure or sham acupressure, fatigue level appeared 36% improved in the acupuncture group, but 19% in the acupressure group and only 0.6% with sham acupressure. When real acupuncture plus enhanced routine care was compared with enhanced routine care, the combination group improved mean scores for general fatigue, together with physical and mental fatigue. With real acupuncture versus sham acupuncture or wait list controls, the real acupuncture group displayed significant advantages over the wait list controls at 2 weeks for fatigue improvement and better well-being effects at 6 weeks. When moxibustion plus routine care was compared with routine care alone, the meta-analyses demonstrated the combination had a relatively significant benefit in improving severe fatigue and QLQ-C30. Conclusion: Up to the search date, there exist few high quality RCTs to evaluate the effect of acupuncture and moxibustion, especially moxibustion in English. Yet acupuncture and moxibustion still appeared to be efficacious auxiliary therapeutic methods for CRF, in spite of several inherent defects of the included studies. Much more high-quality studies are urgently needed.
Preview · Article · May 2013 · Asian Pacific journal of cancer prevention: APJCP