I regularly see and treat clients who suffer from the side-effects of cancer treatment. A common side-effect is cancer related fatigue. Fatigue affects hundreds of thousands of former cancer patients in the UK following their medical treatment, which makes it a concern. The results of a large scale UK trial are published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. 20 December 2012. It concluded that Acupuncture is an effective intervention for managing the symptom of Cancer Related Fatigue and improving patients' quality of life.
Of the 302 patients in the trial, 227 were given weekly acupuncture sessions, with follow-up checks for another 18 weeks. 75 were given normal care. Patients given acupuncture had suffered from fatigue for an average of 15 months. They were then assessed for physical and mental fatigue, activity, motivation, anxiety, depression and quality of life. Under all of these assessments, acupuncture was shown to have significant benefits. While the researchers acknowledge a placebo effect was possible, they believe the results are too significant to be viewed as a result of any potential placebo effect alone.
Acupuncture is a complementary or traditional medicine which has been used in China for hundreds of years. Its use in mainstream healthcare in the UK is still in its infancy, with it currently being used on the NHS to treat lower back pain, headache and migraine. The authors of the above trial call for more clinical trials to be set up looking at the cost-effectiveness of acupuncture, particularly weighed against reduced costs to society and the NHS of those suffering significant and protracted fatigue after cancer treatment. The benefits should also be investigated for other cancer types, the authors argue. This information is from http://www.breakthrough.org.uk
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The contents of this website are for information only and are not intended to be a substitute for taking medical advice. Always consult a qualified healthcare practitioner such as your GP especially if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or taking any medication. This website is designed to be an information resource for those who are deciding whether or not acupuncture treatment is suitable for them. You will find links to relevant research articles wherever conditions are highlighted. The factsheet page contains the latest information and research available from the British Acupuncture Council. Information is continually updated so do check back regularly.