Acupuncture For Cancer Side Effects



Our acupuncturists are experienced practitioners who offer techniques that may help to alleviate certain treatment-related side effects such as stress and insomnia, pain, nausea and vomiting and dry mouth.  To incorporate acupuncture into your care plan, is always a great idea since there is no side effects from the treatment.




Nausea & Vomiting


Acupuncture is known to stimulate the nervous system and cause the release of neurochemical messenger molecules.  These biochemical changes influence the body's homeostatic mechanisms which promote a physical and emotional well-being.  

Three systematic reviews found that moxibustion or acupuncture can help relieve nausea and vomiting, especially in acute cases.  





Pain


Acupuncture help provide long-term pain relief for patients with cancer.  One trial found it to be more effective than usual care for pain and dysfunction after neck dissection.  In another trial it was more effective than cobamamide for peripheral neuropathy from chemotherapy.  A third trial found it to be better than sham acupuncture for joint symptoms caused by aromatase inhibitors.






Fatigue




Two small trials showed that acupuncture may be more effective than sham acupuncture.

Xerostomia (radiotherapy-induced)




Leukopaenia  



A systematic review concluded that acupuncture may be effective for chemotherapy-induced leukopaenia.  More recent trials found it to increase granulocyte colony-stimulating factor, improve leukopaenia and increase white blood cell count.





Vasomotor symptoms 



A systematic review, three trials and four more recent trials in women with breas cancer have provided mixed results.  In two out of three acupuncture was found superior to sham, better than venlafaxine in one out of two, similar to relaxation.  Less effective than hormone therapy, minus the serious side effects.  In respect of men with prostate cancer, there's a systematic review.  Although preliminary, the results are promising.  






Research has proven that acupuncture may specifically benefit symptoms related to cancer and its treatment by:




  • -Regulating neurotransmitters and hormones (serotonin), noradrenaline, dopamine, GABA, therefore altering the brain's chemistry to help combat negative affective states
  • -Promotes relaxation and deactivates the 'analytical' brain, which is responsible for worry and anxiety, also acts on areas of the brain known to reduce sensitivity to stress and pain
  • -Reversing pathological changes in levels of inflammatory cytokines.  By promoting release of vascular and immunomodulatory factors, inflammation is reduced.
  • -By increasing local microcirculation, which aids dispersal of swelling; it improves joint mobility and improves muscle stiffness.
  • -Reduces vasopressin-induced nausea and vomiting, suppresses retrograde peistaltic contractions​
  • -Nausea and vomiting is relieved by regulating gastirc myo-electrical activity, regulating vestibular activities in the cerebellum and modulating the actions of the autonomic nervous system and the vagal nerve


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