Acupuncture Benefits Cancer Patients

Posted on May 27, 2011 in Health and Wellness | 3 comments

Treating the Side Effects of Chemotherapy in Cancer Patients
Alaina Speraw, L. Ac., Dipl. Ac., B. A.
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month ; so I thought it might be timely to share some of my clinical experience and passion for treating Cancer patients at the Virginia G Piper Cancer Center. Chemotherapy, radiation and surgery present enormous challenges and suffering for most people hoping for those magic words “cancer free”. However, the journey is full of potential pitfalls such as nausea, vomiting, hot flashes, joint pain, fatigue, insomnia, neuropathy, infections, lymphedema, cellulitis, nerve damage, xerostomia (dry mouth) and local pain.
There is a growing body of research on the potential benefits of using Acupuncture to help alleviate some of the side effects associated with chemotherapy and radiation. A recent 12 week study at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit of 47 breast cancer patients showed that Acupuncture relieved hot flashes, night sweats and increased energy and sex drive when compared with a group given Effexor (an anti-depressant). NIC recently gave MD Anderson a $2.8 million grant to study TCM and Cancer with Fudan University Cancer Hospital in Shanghai.
Early in my Acupuncture career I had several positive outcomes in treating the side effects and wondered why Acupuncture was not part of the treatment model and protocol for cancer patients. Recognizing that many cancer patients are unaware of the benefits of Acupuncture I wanted to make it available in a conventional care setting. In recent years respectable institutions such as MD Anderson, John Hopkins, Sloan Kettering and Cancer Centers of America have made Acupuncture available to their patients.
Many of the side effects can be seen through the lens of TCM as toxic heat in the liver depleting the liver and kidney yin with liver energy stagnation and heat invading the spleen-stomach. I have found that a combination points such as of Liver 2, 3, Large Intestine 3, 4, Per 6, Sp 4, K3, 7 and Yintang or Du 23 to be effective in addressing nausea, vomiting, night sweats, hot flashes, insomnia and joint pain in breast cancer patients. I recommend treatment the day of or within 24 hours of chemotherapy infusion or other drug therapy such as herceptin.
When a patient reports back that their nausea, joint pain or headache is gone after the Acupuncture treatment, it is the ultimate Qi exchange and one knows in the deepest place why we do what we do.

3 Comments

  1. Im grateful for the blog article.Really looking forward to read more. Really Great.

  2. Thanks again for the blog post.Thanks Again. Keep writing.