A review of the evidence shows how acupuncture helps relieve a wide range of symptoms experienced by people with cancer.
Over the last 20 years, the importance of palliative care in cancer has grown. It’s now more likely to be given alongside ongoing treatment, rather than just at the end of life. Doctors at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London, reports on contributions to palliative care using acupuncture.
Using acupuncture before surgery relieves the need for ‘top up’ anesthetics and also reduces post-operative pain. It also plays a role in relieving cancer pain, so that people can be restored to mobility and improved quality of life. But, since cancer pain can have so many causes, it is vital that the treatment be done only after a detailed diagnosis and under the supervision of a doctor qualified in conventional medicine.
Other work shows how acupuncture helps with nausea and vomiting, breathlessness, dry mouth and ulcers – all of which are common symptoms in people with cancer, arising either from the disease itself, or from treatment. Further research will show whether acupuncture can also relieve debilitating fatigue which often occurs as a result in cancer treatment. It looks as if acupuncture has a lot to offer people with cancer – not as a cure, but as a way of improving their wellbeing and quality of life.