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Acupuncture for cancer-related fatigue

Cancer-related fatigue

Acupuncture for cancer-related fatigue



People undergoing cancer treatment can have fatigue, either as a result of the illness or as a side effect of the treatment.

According to the guidelines produced by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN), cancer-related fatigue is

“a distressing, persistent, subjective sense of physical, emotional, and/or cognitive tiredness or exhaustion related to cancer or cancer treatment that is not proportional to recent activity and interferes with usual functioning.”

There is a range of interventions that can help with fatigue, including hypnosis, appropriate physical exercise, yoga, counselling (CBT), massage and education.

Acupuncture and acupressure are a promising additional interventions, with the added benefit of potentially being able to help with other symptoms and improve overall wellbeing.

Several researchers have recommended acupuncture to be offered alongside usual care to people undergoing cancer treatment to help with fatigue, and the NCCN has included acupuncture in the guidelines for supportive care.

If you are interested in acupuncture to help with your symptoms, please discuss this with your medical team.

Also please feel welcome to come to our clinic for a free 15-minute consultation to find out how we would approach your particular situation, to ask us any questions you may have and to find out what you may expect from treatment.


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Berger AM, Fernandez-Robles C, Murphy BA. NCCN Guidelines Index Table of Contents Discussion. 2018:64. (accessed 31Aug2018

Lau CHY, Wu X, Chung VCH, et al. Acupuncture and Related Therapies for Symptom Management in Palliative Cancer Care: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Medicine. 2016;95(9):e2901. doi:10.1097/MD.0000000000002901

Ling W, Lui LYY, So WKW, Chan K. Effects of Acupuncture and Acupressure on Cancer-Related Fatigue: A Systematic Review. Oncology Nursing Forum. 2014;41(6):581-592. doi:10.1188/14.ONF.581-592
Zia FZ, Olaku O, Bao T, et al. The National Cancer Institute’s Conference on Acupuncture for Symptom Management in Oncology: State of the Science, Evidence, and Research Gaps. J Natl Cancer Inst Monogr. 2017;2017(52). doi:10.1093/jncimonographs/lgx005

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This post is brought to you by Lois Nethery, acupuncturist and Chinese medicine herbalist at Ocean Acupuncture in Curl Curl on Sydney's Northern Beaches.

Disclaimer - Ocean Acupuncture is a natural medicine centre of independent health practitioners. The views expressed in this blog are the author's only and do not necessarily reflect the views of all Ocean Acupuncture practitioners. The information presented in this blog, and on the Ocean Acupuncture website, is for interest and educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for health or medical information or advice. For health or medical advice, please consult your health professional.

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