Acupuncture and Radiotherapy

A clinical trial in London has shown the feasibility and usefulness of providing acupuncture within a busy NHS radiotherapy unit. A total of 101 cancer patients were randomised to receive either standard care in the unit, or standard care plus acupuncture. The latter was given to assist with common symptoms such as fatigue, nausea, vomiting, hot flushes, mood and sleep problems. Patients were given between three and eight acupuncture treatments, one week apart.

Patients reported qualitatively that they valued the positive impact acupuncture had, with improvements in fatigue, nausea, vomiting, pain, insomnia and shortness of breath being noted. Quantitatively, only improvements in fatigue were identified.

(A feasibility trial of acupuncture in cancer patients undergoing radiotherapy treatment. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, May 2021.)