Acupuncture is one of the most commonly used modalities of Chinese medicine to control and manage cancer and/or cancer side effects induced by cancer therapy. Substantial clinical and research evidence shows that acupuncture can play an important role in support for cancer patients.
In China, and other Asian countries, acupuncture has been used for thousands of years for treating cancers. Today, it continues to be a mainstream form of treatment for effective cancer management in Chinese oncology hospitals, particularly when used in conjunction with other major conventional therapies such as surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy and biological therapy.
Pain is one of the most common consequences of cancer. It has been reported that 30% – 50% of all cancer patients in the early stages of cancer and 70% – 90% of patients with advanced cancer experience intractable pain. Cancer pain is extremely disruptive and its management is crucial to improve quality of life of any cancer patient.
Acupuncture is commonly used to treat cancer pain because of its astonishing pain relief and analgesic abilities. It is also a great alternative to pharmacological treatments such as opioids, Morphine etc. Post operative pain and neuropathic pain is the most difficult type of pain to treat with drugs, however acupuncture has been shown to be effective in managing this kind of the pain.
Chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting can impair a cancer patient’s quality of life and cause emotional stress, fatigue and weakness.
There are plenty of acupuncture points, for example PC6 has shown promising results to control nausea and vomiting. The effective and natural way to manage nausea and vomiting can reduce the need for pharmaceuticals, thus improving quality of life.
It is common for patients to suffer from nerve damage and neuropathic pain from mainstream oncologic treatments such as surgery, Chemotherapy and radiation. Normally it will take a long time for the body to repair the damaged nerves. Unfortunately, most of the time, it may not be a complete recovery.
Acupuncture can speed up recovery of the damaged nerves by increasing blood flow, and optimising the overall constitution in order to promote an optimal healing process.
Dry mouth is a very common complication in patients treated with radiotherapy for head and neck related cancers. The condition is caused by radiation damage to salivary glands. The symptoms of radiation induced Xerostomia are often permanent, and lead to difficulty in mastication, swallowing and speaking.
Acupuncture has shown its effectiveness in restoring residual salivary function over a course of 12 treatments. This is achieved through the stimulation of the nervous function of the salivary glands.
Anxiety and stress are significant symptoms consciously and subconsciously experienced by cancer patients.
Acupuncture can be used to reduce a patient’s levels of nervousness and anxiety, and can help cancer patients to cope better while receiving mainstream oncology treatments. This will also help the recovery of cancer patients after they finish receiving mainstream oncology treatments.
Hot flushes and sweating are frequent complications caused by hormonal manipulative therapies used to treat breast cancer and prostate cancer.
Acupuncture has shown its effectiveness in managing these vasomotor symptoms without the usual side effects. Acupuncture helps the body promote self-regulation of the hormonal system, and promotes balance and calmness.
Fatigue is a common and debilitating side effect of mainstream cancer treatment such as Chemotherapy and radiation.
Acupuncture is a great way to improve vitality and reduce the side effects of Chemotherapy drugs and radiation. Acupuncture can also help cancer patients to recover quickly from surgery and minimise fatigue.
If you are suffering from cancer and side effects from conventional cancer treatment, our experienced acupuncturists can provide relief of symptoms and devise a treatment plan for your recovery.
Dr. Scott Ling is the Chief Chinese Medicine Practitioner and Acupuncturist and the founder of Sustain Health. He holds a PHD Doctorate Degree in Chinese medicine from Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine. Dr Ling's extensive qualifications also include a Master of Reproductive Medicine (western medicine). Due to his unique medical background, Dr Ling’s approach stresses on the integration of Chinese and Western medicine to ensure patients get the greatest benefits from the best of both medical systems.
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