A review by American clinicians of acupuncture in cancer care, shows it is associated with improvements across a range of symptoms patients typically encounter. They studied records on 375 patients, mean age 56, presenting for acupuncture treatment over one year at an outpatient integrative medicine clinic. The worst symptoms at baseline were poor sleep, fatigue, impaired wellbeing and pain.
After the initial acupuncture session, statistically significant improvements were noted across all symptoms. The highest mean reduction occurred for hot flushes, followed by fatigue, numbness/tingling and nausea. Clinically significant reductions were observed in both physical and psychological symptom scores, including those for anxiety, appetite, depression, dry mouth, shortness of breath and wellbeing. Response rates were highest for symptoms of spiritual pain (59%), dry mouth (58%) and nausea (57%).
The study authors point out that a 2017 National Cancer Institute paper identified as a future direction the need to advance the evidence-based integration of acupuncture into conventional cancer care settings.
(Outpatient acupuncture effects on patient self-reported symptoms in oncology care: a retrospective analysis. Journal of Cancer, 8 September 2018.)