Two pilot studies from China suggest acupuncture can be of help in alleviating cancer pain and fatigue. In the first study, 42 patients with moderate to severe cancer pain and selected from cancer clinics in mainland China and Hong Kong, were randomised to receive acupuncture at one of three possible sets of points. Everyone received seven treatments over a two week period. All patients experienced a decrease in pain, but those in the group needled at LI-4, LV-3, PC-6, ST-36 and SP-6 reported significantly greater pain reduction than the other two groups. The authors say a future multi-centre study with a larger sample size is now warranted.
(A pilot randomized controlled trial of acupuncture at the Si Guan Xue for cancer pain. BMC Complementary & Alternative Medicine, 26 June 2017.)
In a second pilot trial, 28 patients with lung cancer and presenting with cancer-related fatigue, were randomised to receive either true or sham acupuncture twice a week for four weeks. After a fortnight, there was a significant reduction in fatigue in the group receiving true acupuncture compared with those receiving sham control. This difference had increased by week six ie a fortnight post-treatment.
(Acupuncture for cancer-related fatigue in lung cancer patients: a randomized, double blind placebo-controlled pilot trial. Support Care Cancer, 13 July 2017.)