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Auricular acupuncture is effective in reducing the pain of patients receiving chemotherapy. Brazilian investigators randomised 31 cancer patients to either verum or sham auricular acupuncture. Verum acupuncture consisted of semi-permanent needles inserted at Shenmen, Kidney, Sympathetic and Muscle Relaxation, plus additional points according to traditional five element theory. Eye and Trachea points were used in the placebo group. Both groups underwent eight weekly treatment sessions. After eight auricular acupuncture sessions, there was a significant difference between the groups regarding pain intensity and of the use of medications (daily doses of analgesics, strength of analgesic drug and number of medications used) in favour of the verum acupuncture group.

Effectiveness of auricular acupuncture in the treatment of cancer pain: randomized clinical trial. Rev Esc Enferm USP. 2018 Dec 13;52:e03402.

Acupuncture can improve cancer-related pain and other symptoms, concludes a group of American clinicians. A retrospective chart review was carried out for 170 acupuncture treatments given to 68 adult cancer patients who were receiving palliative care. Significant reductions in pain scores were observed across all treatments. Further analysis demonstrated clinically meaningful pain improvement in patients with higher baseline pain scores and more advanced disease. In addition to pain reduction, there were significant improvements in anxiety, depression, drowsiness, dyspnoea, fatigue, nausea and well-being.

Acupuncture for Cancer Pain and Symptom Management in a Palliative Medicine Clinic. Am J Hosp Palliat Care. 2018 Oct 4:1049909118804464.

Acupuncture is associated with both immediate and longitudinal improvement across a range of symptoms commonly experienced by individuals during cancer care, concludes a group of American clinicians. Records from 375 cancer patients presenting for acupuncture treatment over one year at an outpatient integrative medicine clinic were retrospectively reviewed. Statistically significant improvement was observed for all cancer symptoms after the initial acupuncture treatment. Hot flushes had the highest mean reduction, followed by fatigue, numbness/tingling and nausea. Clinically significant reductions were observed in both physical and psychological symptom scores. Clinical response rates were highest for symptoms of spiritual pain (58.9%), dry mouth (57.8%) and nausea (57.3%).

Outpatient acupuncture effects on patient self-reported symptoms in oncology care: a retrospective analysis. J Cancer. 2018 Sep 8;9(19):3613-3619. doi: 10.7150/jca.26527. eCollection 2018.


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