“Acupuncture is effective in relieving cancer-related pain, particularly malignancy-related and surgery-induced pain. Our findings suggest that acupuncture can be adopted as part of a multimodal approach for reducing cancer-related pain.” 1
A recent systematic review has looked at acupuncture as a treatment to help with cancer-related pain.
People in treatment, recovering from treatment or in remission all can experience pain. Pain may be related to malignancy, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, hormone therapy or surgery.
Pain is extremely common in patients and survivors. More than half of all cancer patients will experience pain either during treatments or in advanced stages of illness.
This pain significantly reduces patients’ quality of life.
Cancer pain is normally treated with pain medication. Issues with medication may include side effects such as nausea or constipation or inadequate pain control. With many patients receiving inadequate treatment for pain, the authors suggest that “alternative treatments for cancer-related pain are urgently required”.
The American Pain Society recommends that effective management include both pharmacological and non-pharmacological methods. The National Comprehensive Cancer Network clinical guidelines for adult cancer pain recommend the inclusion of acupuncture as an integrated treatment option in conjunction with medication.
The study authors found good evidence to suggest that acupuncture is helpful as part of management of malignancy-related pain and surgery-induced pain. Further research is needed to determine how acupuncture can help with chemotherapy- and radiation-therapy related pain (such as neuropathy, which can be difficult to treat with medication).
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