- Question from Fherdrich: Is there evidence-based support for classical forms of acupuncture treatment for people living with cancer?
Interesting question because it specifies classical forms. There are many forms of acupuncture, true—there are classical forms and deviations. We can consider acupuncture as a whole acupuncture. I generally don't tell my patients to do acupuncture unless for specific reasons: they have a symptom, pain or nausea, or if they might feel better with it. The Chinese don't use it that way either.
There is no evidence that acupuncture can improve survival in cancer. It is not used to treat cancer; it is used to feel better from certain complications from the disease or the treatment. For someone living with cancer but who otherwise has no symptoms from cancer or from cancer treatment, I don't necessarily see the need for acupuncture. Some people just do it because they like it.
- Beth Baughman DuPree, M.D., F.A.C.S. Many patients seek acupuncture to help alleviate the side effects of cancer and as a part of overall wellness. Although the acupuncture is not intended as a cure or an alternative to treatments they are receiving, it can have a very positive effect on their overall well-being.
- Raymond Chang It is useful. I tell my cancer patients that there are so-called quality of life or feel better treatments, and there are "live-longer" treatments. They are not necessarily mutually inclusive. Chemo may extend life but certainly does not make people feel better. Likewise, things that make people feel better may not improve their survival. So patients sometimes get mixed up. It depends on why you're using something. I absolutely agree that acupuncture, whether you're sick or not, will make you feel better. It's very relaxing.
The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Traditional Chinese Medicine featured Raymond Chang, M.D. and moderator Beth Baughman Dupree, M.D., F.A.C.S. answering your questions about how to discuss Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) with your cancer doctor.
Editor's Note: This conference took place in September 2005.
The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.
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