Acupuncture as a Complementary Treatment for Cancer Patients Receiving Chemotherapy


Background: Medical treatment for eliminating the side effects of cancer therapy may not always be efficacious.Acupuncture is one of the most widely accepted alternative and complementary therapies in use today. In thisstudy, we investigated the efficacy of acupuncture in patients experiencing cancer treatment side effects, includingnausea, vomiting, pain, poor sleep quality and anxiety. Materials and
Methods: A total of 45 inpatients whounderwent chemotherapy between February and April 2013 in the Oncology Department of Numune Hospitalwere included in our study. Acupuncture was administered to the patients one day prior to chemotherapy, onthe day of chemotherapy and one day after chemotherapy. The patients were evaluated on nausea, vomiting,pain, sleep quality and anxiety before the chemotherapy and on the 4th day of chemotherapy.
Results: Of the45 patients included in the study, 18 (40%) were female and 27 (60%) were male. A total of 25 (55.6%) had anelementary school education; 32 patients (71%) had stage 4 cancer and were treated with palliative chemotherapy(the patient characteristics are shown in Table 1). Statistically significant decreases (p<0.001) in pain, nausea,vomiting, insomnia and anxiety scores were observed after the acupuncture treatment compared to baseline.There were no differences in the age, gender, education level, stage or metastasis levels between the patient groupswhose symptoms improved or were unchanged.
Conclusions: Our study showed that acupuncture has positiveeffects in cancer treatment patients who experience nausea, vomiting, pain, poor sleep quality and anxiety asside effects of chemotherapy. Chemotherapy-related side effects in cancer patients could be decreased by theconcurrent use of acupuncture.