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Cancer Women's Health

Acupuncture reduces side effects of breast cancer treatment

10 years, 11 months ago

1737  0
Posted on Sep 23, 2008, 7 a.m. By Rich Hurd

Acupuncture is as effective at reducing the menopausal side effects of breast cancer treatment as conventional drug therapy, say researchers.

Acupuncture is as effective at reducing the menopausal side effects of breast cancer treatment as conventional drug therapy, say researchers.

Eleanor Walker and colleagues enrolled 47 women receiving either tamoxifen or Arimidex after breast cancer treatment for their 12-week-long study. Each woman was suffering from at least 14 hot flashes a week. Half of the women were treated with the anti-depressant Effexor, the current treatment of choice for women suffering from menopausal side effects of breast cancer treatment, whilst the other half were given acupuncture.

Results showed that acupuncture was as effective as Effexor at reducing hot flashes and night sweats. However, whilst Effexor itself is associated with numerous side effects – including weight gain, nausea, increased blood pressure, sleep problems, and fatigue – acupuncture does not cause any side effects. In fact, acupuncture was associated with a number of additional health benefits, including an increased sense of well being, increased energy, and, in some cases, an increased sex drive.

“Our study shows that physicians and patients have an additional therapy for something that affects the majority of breast cancer survivors and actually has benefits, as opposed to more side effects. The effect is more durable that a drug commonly used to treat these vasomotor symptoms and, ultimately, is more cost-effective for insurance companies,” said study leader Eleanor Walker in a news release issued by the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology.

American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology annual meeting, Boston, Sept. 21-25, 2008.

News release: Acupuncture reduces side effects of breast cancer treatment as much as conventional drug therapy. September 22nd 2008.

 

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