Acupuncture can help control pain in cancer patients, besides it is also beneficial in giving a psychological boost
Pain is a long-standing and unresolved clinical issue among cancer patients. Cancer pain may not just be from the physical effect of the cancer on a region of the body. Cancer treatments – such as chemotherapy, radiation and surgery — are another potential source of cancer pain. Cancer pain significantly impacts patients’ quality of life.
“Acupuncture treatment administered as one of several integrative interventions, in conjunction with pharmacologic intervention as needed can prove extremely beneficial. As Acupuncture works on both the physical and psychological conditions of a patient,” said Dr. T. C. Tolia, leading Acupuncturist while addressing a seminar on Cancer and Acupuncture organised by the Cancer Aid and Research Foundation (CARF) recently in Mumbai. CARF is a Mumbai-based medical NGO and non-profit Charitable Organisation working for underprivileged cancer patients.
Acupuncture as a powerful tool for general pain control is widely known. Acupuncture is widely available in hospitals and clinics in the US and several developed countries. Though acupuncture treatment is made available to patients in few hospitals in India it is not as widely practised here as in developed countries.
One of the main reasons people with cancer can be advised to use acupuncture is to help relieve sickness (nausea) caused by chemotherapy or other cancer drugs. Research suggests that it is helpful in relieving some symptoms of cancer or the side effects of cancer treatment. Tiredness (fatigue) after chemotherapy is a difficult symptom to manage and has a big effect on patient’s lives. It can sometimes last for years.
“Since acupuncture helps in increasing overall immunology, increased blood count, general well-being of a patient is improved. That helps in reducing the over-all dose of medicine required by the patients,” said Dr Tolia who has been a practising Acupuncturist since past 37 years in Mumbai and who has trained several medical practitioners.
“Not only is acupuncture as effective as drug therapy at reducing hot flashes in breast cancer patients, it has the added benefit of improving her sense of well-being,” Dr. Tolia said. “Acupuncture in post-operative cancer patients can improve the depressive mood of these patients when used in conjunction with usual care. Insomnia is one of the most significant symptoms of cancer patients, along with anxiety,” he added.
A study found acupuncture may significantly reduce insomnia and anxiety. A short-lived improvement in tension also was found. Using acupuncture for hot flashes in breast cancer patients is another active area of clinical study.
Dr. Tolia stated that the treatment motivates patients to continue with their routine life which is very vital aspect in their overall well-being.
What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine, and has been practiced in China and other Asian countries for thousands of years. During Acupuncture treatment sessions sterile, hair-thin needles are inserted into specific points on the skin, called acupuncture points. Acupuncture treats a wide-range of illnesses including circulatory disorders, gastrointestinal disorders, gynecological/genitourinary disorders, addiction, emotional and psychological disorders, respiratory disorders, among others.
Advantages of acupuncture
Hot flashes in breast
improving sleep quality
Dry mouth (xerostomia)