A study by UK researchers has shown acupuncture to be effective at managing cancer-related fatigue (CRF). The randomised, controlled trial looked at 302 breast cancer patients, and allocated 227 of them to receive weekly acupuncture for six weeks plus usual care, and 75 of them to receive usual care alone. Usual care included provision of a booklet about fatigue management. The acupuncture group exhibited significant improvements in physical and mental fatigue, activity, motivation, psychological distress and quality of life measures. The researchers conclude acupuncture is an effective intervention for managing the symptom of CRF and improving patients’ quality of life.
This is the world’s first large-scale trial on this topic, and it was funded by Breakthrough, the UK’s leading breast cancer charity. Their Head of Research, Dr Julia Wilson, said,”Lots of breast cancer patients use acupuncture. Women were asking us if it works and until now, we had no scientific evidence to prove whether it did.” Professor Alexander Molassiotis from the University of Manchester and who led the trial, said,”Fatigue blights the lives of thousands of former cancer patients and this proves acupuncture can help them.”
(Acupuncture for Cancer-Related Fatigue in Patients with Breast Cancer: A Pragmatic Randomised Controlled Trial. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 20 December 2012.)