Acupuncture is more effective and longer-lasting than medication in managing the side effects of conventional breast cancer treatments. That's according to a study completed by the Henry Ford Hospital Department of Radiation Oncology in Detroit.
The 12 week study involved 47 breast cancer patients receiving hormonal therapy and experiencing at least 14 hot flashes per week.
Results of the study showed that acupuncture reduced the hot flashes as effectively as venlafaxine, a commonly prescribed antidepressant drug used to treat hot flashes. Also, patients did not experience any of the common side effects associated with venlafaxine, which include decreased libido, insomnia, dizziness and nausea.
In addition, some of the breast cancer patients involved in the study showed health benefits from the acupuncture treatment, including an increased sense of well being, more energy, and a higher sex drive.
According to Eleanor Walker, M.D., lead author of the study, "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 than a drug commonly used to treat these vasomotor symptoms and, ultimately, is more cost-effective for insurance companies."
The study is scheduled to be presented later this week at the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology's 50th Annual Meeting in Boston.
Acupuncture, an ancient Chinese medicine technique, uses sterile needles applied to specific areas of the body to help control pain and relieve symptoms of disease.
Learn how physicians at Cancer Treatment Centers of America utilize acupuncture as a complementary cancer treatment therapy.