Cancer Treatment & Chemotherapy Support

Acupuncture for Cancer Treatment & Chemotherapy Support

Acupuncture for Cancer Treatment & Chemotherapy Support

Acupuncture is increasingly used to treat a variety of symptoms and conditions associated with cancer and the side effects of cancer treatments.

This parallels a broader trend of the world's top-ranked cancer centres integrating acupuncture into their cancer care, and an increase in acupuncture research in the field of oncology in the past twenty years.

Our clinic strictly advises that Chinese medicine and acupuncture should never be used alone for the treatment of cancer itself, but may be used to support certain symptoms associated with cancer and side effects of cancer treatment.

Cancer Treatment Signs & Symptoms

  • Chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, peripheral neuropathy
  • Cancer-related fatigue and pain
  • Breast cancer treatment-related hot flashes, anxiety and insomnia

What Does The Research Say?

The following insights are obtained from scientific studies, systematic reviews and analysis of clinical trials investigating the efficacy of Cancer Treatment Support.

Scientific References

Browse our collection of scientific research on Cancer Treatment Support. It includes recent and reputable papers published by peer-reviewed journals within the last 10 years.

Frontiers in Oncology

2021, Jun 10

Acupuncture for Breast Cancer: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Patient-Reported Outcomes
Frontiers in Oncology

Current evidence suggests that acupuncture might improve BC treatment-related symptoms measured with PROs including QoL, pain, fatigue, hot flashes, sleep disturbance and anxiety. However, a number of included studies report limited amounts of certain subgroup settings, thus more rigorous, well-designed and larger RCTs are needed to confirm our results.

Zhang Yuzhu, Sun Yang, Li Dongmei, Liu Xiaoyuan, Fang Chen, Yang Chunmin, Luo Tianyu, Lu Hai, Li Huachao, Zhang Hongyan, Liang Qianyi, Wu Jiahua, Huang Limei, Xu Rui, Ren Liping, Chen Qianjun Full Article

BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care

2021, Jan 13

Acupuncture for palliative cancer pain management: systematic review
BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care

Acupuncture may be an effective and safe treatment associated with pain reduction in the palliative care of patients with cancer. Further high-quality, adequately powered studies are needed in the future.

Yang J, Wahner-Roedler DL, Zhou X, et al. Full Article

Integrative Cancer Therapies

2020, Jul 28

Acupuncture for Hormone Therapy-Related Side Effects in Breast Cancer Patients: A GRADE-Assessed Systematic Review and Updated Meta-Analysis
Integrative Cancer Therapies

Evidence for outcome indicators of symptom management were downgraded by the GRADE system for inconsistency, indirectness, and imprecision in the included RCTs. Nonetheless, acupuncture is a moderately appropriate alternative therapy for hormone therapy–related side effects in breast cancer patients. However, it still lacks large-sample, multicenter, prospective RCTs. Future research should focus on standardizing comparison groups and treatment methods, be at least single-blinded, assess biologic mechanisms, have adequate statistical power, and involve multiple acupuncturists.

Yuanqing P, Yong T, Haiqian L, Gen C, Shen X, Dong J, Qi C, Miaomiao Q. Full Article

Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine

2020, May 12

Effectiveness and Safety of Acupuncture Moxibustion Therapy Used in Breast Cancer-Related Lymphedema: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine

This systematic review and meta-analysis provides evidence that AMT is serviceable and safe in treating BCRL. With the limited number of available studies and methodology drawbacks, further high-quality RCTs with reasonable designs are still warranted.

Huimin Jin, Yuying Xiang, Yuqian Feng, Yiting Zhang, Shan Liu, Shanming Ruan, Huamiao Zhou Full Article

Medicine

2020, Apr 24

A systematic review and meta-analysis of the efficacy of acupuncture and electroacupuncture against chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy
Medicine

Acupuncture is safe, but the symptom-alleviating effect on CIPN can hardly be determined because of methodological deficiencies of the included studies. In terms of the clinical efficacy rate, acupuncture was more effective than conventional pharmacological treatments.

Hwang MS, Lee HY, Choi TY, et al. Full Article

The Oncologist

2020, Apr

Acupuncture for Chemotherapy‐Induced Peripheral Neuropathy in Breast Cancer Survivors: A Randomized Controlled Pilot Trial
The Oncologist

In a randomized pilot trial of 40 breast cancer survivors with CIPN, an 8‐week acupuncture intervention (vs. usual care) led to a statistically and clinically significant improvement in subjective sensory symptoms including neuropathic pain and paresthesia. Given the lack of effective therapies and established safety profile of acupuncture, clinicians may consider acupuncture as a treatment option for mild to moderate CIPN in practice.

Lu W, Giobbie-Hurder A, Freedman RA, et al. Full Article

JAMA Oncology

2020, Mar 11

Effect of Acupuncture vs Sham Procedure on Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy Symptoms A Randomized Clinical Trial
JAMA Oncology American Medical Association

Compared with usual care, acupuncture resulted in significant improvement in chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy symptoms.

Bao T, Patil S, Chen C, et al. Full Article

Integrative Cancer Therapies

2020, Jan

The Effects of Acupuncture on Cancer-Related Fatigue: Updated Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
Integrative Cancer Therapies

This article showcased the efficacy of acupuncture treatments for cancer patients undergoing radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Patients reported to have higher motivation and energy levels. The results also showed lower stress levels and general improvements with quality of life.

Jang, A., Brown, C., Lamoury, G., Morgia, M., Boyle, F., Marr, I., Clarke, S., Back, M., & Oh, B. Full Article

JAMA Oncology

2019, Dec

Clinical Evidence for Association of Acupuncture and Acupressure With Improved Cancer Pain: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
JAMA Oncology American Medical Association

This systematic review and meta-analysis found that acupuncture and/or acupressure was significantly associated with reduced cancer pain and decreased use of analgesics,

He Y, Guo X, May BH, et al Full Article

JAMA Oncology

2019, Dec

Clinical Evidence for Association of Acupuncture and Acupressure With Improved Cancer Pain A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
JAMA Oncology American Medical Association

This study found a moderate level of evidence that acupuncture and/or acupressure was significantly associated with lower pain intensity in patients with cancer compared with a sham control, which suggests a potential for a combination of acupuncture and acupressure to help reduce opioid doses in patients with cancer.

He Y, Guo X, May BH, et al. Full Article

Climacteric

2019, Oct 15

The maintenance effect of acupuncture on breast cancer-related menopause symptoms: a systematic review
Climacteric International Menopause Society

Acupuncture significantly alleviated menopause symptoms for at least 3 months, but not hot flushes. Breast cancer patients concerned about the adverse effects of hormone therapy could consider acupuncture as an alternative. Additional acupuncture at 3 months after the initial treatment course could be considered. A large-scale study may help to define the optimal guideline for this issue.

T.-J. Chien, C.-Y. Liu, C.-J. Fang & C.-Y. Kuo Full Article

Frontiers in Pharmacology

2019, Jun 25

Is Danggui Safe to be Taken by Breast Cancer Patients?-A Skepticism Finally Answered by Comprehensive Preclinical Evidence
Frontiers in Pharmacology

We showed that AS is not that stimulatory in breast cancer both in vitro and in vivo, though AS should still be used with caution in estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer patients.

Yue Grace Gar-Lee, Wong Lok-Sze, Leung Hoi-Wing, Gao Si, Tsang Julia Yuen-Shan, Lin Zhi-Xiu, Law Bonita Ka-Bo, Tse Gary Man-Kit, Lau Clara Bik-San Full Article

Acupuncture in Medicine

2019, Mar 8

Effects of acupuncture on breast cancer-related lymphoedema: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials
Acupuncture in Medicine British Medical Acupuncture Society

The present meta-analysis and systematic review suggests that acupuncture is effective at reducing breast cancer-related lymphoedema in patients after breast cancer treatment.

Zhang X, Wang X, Zhang B, Yang S, Liu D. Full Article

Journal of Cancer Research and Therapeutics

2018, Sep 24

Acupuncture for the relief of hot flashes in breast cancer patients: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials and observational studies
Journal of Cancer Research and Therapeutics Association of Radiation Oncologists of India

Acupuncture still appeared to be an efficacious therapeutic strategy, especially for the less/no side effects.

Wang XP, Zhang DJ, Wei XD, Wang JP, Zhang DZ. Full Article

European Journal of Cancer Care

2017, Mar

Systematic review and meta-analysis of acupuncture to reduce cancer-related pain
European Journal of Cancer Care

Acupuncture is effective in relieving cancer-related pain, particularly malignancy-related and surgery-induced pain. Our findings suggest that acupuncture can be adopted as part of a multimodal approach for reducing cancer-related pain.

Chiu HY, Hsieh YJ, Tsai PS. Full Article

Acupuncture in Medicine

2016, Aug 1

Acupuncture for recovery after surgery in patients undergoing colorectal cancer resection: a systematic review and meta-analysis
Acupuncture in Medicine British Medical Acupuncture Society

We found low-to moderate-quality evidence for the efficacy and safety of acupuncture for recovery after surgery in colorectal cancer patients.

Kim KH, Kim DH, Kim HY, Son GM. Full Article

Cancer Nursing

2016, May

Effects of Acupuncture on Menopause-Related Symptoms in Breast Cancer Survivors
Cancer Nursing

Acupuncture yielded small-size effects on reducing hot-flash frequency and the severity of menopause-related symptoms.

Chiu, Hsiao-Yean; Shyu, Yuh-Kae; Chang, Pi-Chen, Tsai, Pei-Shan Full Article

Medicine

2016, May 20

Acupuncture and Related Therapies for Symptom Management in Palliative Cancer Care: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
Medicine

Acupuncture and related therapies are effective in reducing pain, fatigue, and in improving quality of life when compared with conventional intervention alone among cancer patients. Limitations on current evidence body imply that they should be used as a complement, rather than an alternative, to conventional care.

Lau CH, Wu X, Chung VC, Liu X, Hui EP, Cramer H, Lauche R, Wong SY, Lau AY, Sit RS, Ziea ET, Ng BF, Wu JC. Full Article

Journal of Pain and Symptom Management

2016, Feb 12

Effects of Acupuncture, Tuina, Tai Chi, Qigong, and Traditional Chinese Medicine Five-Element Music Therapy on Symptom Management and Quality of Life for Cancer Patients: A Meta-Analysis
Journal of Pain and Symptom Management American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine

Taken together, although there are some clear limitations regarding the body of research reviewed in this study, a tentative conclusion can be reached that acupuncture, Tuina, Tai Chi, Qigong, or TCM-FEMT represent beneficial adjunctive therapies. Future study reporting in this field should be improved regarding both method and content of interventions and research methods.

Wei-Wei Tao,Hua Jiang,Xiao-Mei Tao,Ping Jiang,Li-Yan Sha,Xian-Ce Sun Full Article

Integrative Cancer Therapies

2016, Jan 16

Acupuncture for Managing Cancer-Related Insomnia: A Systematic Review of Randomized Clinical Trials
Integrative Cancer Therapies

There is a low level of evidence that acupuncture may be superior to sham acupuncture, drugs or hormones therapy.

Choi TY, Kim JI, Lim HJ, Lee MS. Full Article

Oncology Nursing Forum

2014, Jan 1

Effects of acupuncture and acupressure on cancer-related fatigue: a systematic review
Oncology Nursing Forum Oncology Nursing Society

Although results are inconclusive, acupuncture and acupressure tend to be effective in relieving cancer-related fatigue, with the former producing a greater improvement.

Ling WM, Lui LY, So WK, Chan K. Full Article

Supportive Care in Cancer

2014, Jan 18

Systematic literature review: xerostomia in advanced cancer patients
Supportive Care in Cancer Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer

Limited published data exists reporting the effectiveness of measures in the treatment of xerostomia in cancer patients. Based on primary research of low quality, firm conclusions cannot be drawn. However, [...] acupuncture can be tried based on the available data.

Hanchanale S, Adkinson L, Daniel S, Fleming M, Oxberry SG. Full Article

Journal of Clinical Oncology

2013, Mar 1

Systematic review of acupuncture in cancer care: a synthesis of the evidence
Journal of Clinical Oncology American Society of Clinical Oncology

Acupuncture is an appropriate adjunctive treatment for chemotherapy-induced nausea/vomiting, but additional studies are needed. For other symptoms, efficacy remains undetermined owing to high ROB among studies. Future research should focus on standardizing comparison groups and treatment methods, be at least single-blinded, assess biologic mechanisms, have adequate statistical power, and involve multiple acupuncturists.

Garcia MK, McQuade J, Haddad R, Patel S, Lee R, Yang P, Palmer JL, Cohen L. Full Article