Integrative Cancer Care, Medical Acupuncture

Acupuncture as a Therapeutic Treatment for Cancer Pain

ACUPUNCTURE FOR CANCER PAIN: THE CLINICAL EVIDENCE

A Comparative Literature Review in 2017 found a potentially positive effect of acupuncture in treating cancer pain.3 The review included two systematic reviews, the older of which was unable to draw firm conclusions due to small sample sizes and clinical differences in the patients being treated. The more recent review included 36 trials and over 2200 randomised patients. They found a moderate effect size of acupuncture on cancer-related pain, and concluded that “acupuncture is effective in relieving cancer-related pain, particularly malignancy-related and surgery-induced pain.”4

Although this review did not report on risks arising from treatment with acupuncture, elsewhere studies have indicated that acupuncture is a feasible and safe treatment56 and may successfully be used to treat cancer patients for symptom management due to the low risks associated with its use.7

HOW ACUPUNCTURE TREATS CANCER PAIN: BIOLOGICAL MECHANISMS

Acupuncture’s mechanisms for treating cancer pain are thought to be similar to those for treating other painful conditions, whether the pain is categorised as acute or chronic.

These mechanisms have been researched extensively for over 60 years, and while there is still much left to learn about acupuncture mechanisms and the human body in general, the neural pathways from acupuncture point stimulation to the spinal cord and then to the deactivation of the pain centres in the brain have been mapped.89Acupuncture has been demonstrated to activate a number of the body’s own opioids as well as improve the brain’s sensitivity to opioids.10 A number of other biochemicals involved in pain reduction have been found to be released and regulated by acupuncture stimulation, including ATP, adenosine, GABA and substance P.11 Acupuncture has also been demonstrated to reduce activity in the parts of the brain associated with the perception of pain and increase activity in brain areas associated with improved self-regulation.12

 

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Acupuncture as a Therapeutic Treatment for Cancer Pain

Mairi Caughey, BSc and Mel Hopper Koppelman, DAc, MSc, MSc

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Herbal Medicines, Integrative Cancer Care

Efficacy and Safety of the Traditional Herbal Medicine, Gamiguibi-tang, in Patients With Cancer-Related Sleep Disturbance

Efficacy and Safety of the Traditional Herbal Medicine, Gamiguibi-tang, in Patients With Cancer-Related Sleep Disturbance: A Prospective, Randomized, Wait-List-Controlled, Pilot Study

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Figure

Figure 2. Changes in the ISI (A) and BFI (B) scores in the GGBT and wait-list groups. The ends of whiskers represent the upper and lower limit of the values and columns represent 25th and 75th percentile with the median value. The connecting lines represent changes of mean values. *Represents change that was statistically significant (P < .05). White columns represent GGBT group, whereas gray columns represent wait-list group. ISI, Insomnia Severity Index; BFI, Brief Fatigue Inventory; GGBT, Gamiguibi-tang.

 

This study showed that GGBT significantly improved sleep quality and fatigue level but not depression and cognitive impairment in patients with cancer after 2 weeks of intervention without serious adverse events.

Patients with cancer have difficulty maintaining good sleep quality because of their psychosocial and physical stresses. However, standard nonpharmacological and pharmacological approaches to alleviate sleep disturbance in patients with cancer are still lacking. The duration and depth of sleep in these patients is affected by physical problems such as respiratory failure or pain, stressful decisions about cancer therapies and therapy-induced adverse events, as well as circadian disturbance caused by the cancer itself.7,24 In addition, sleep insufficiency arouses immunosuppression and increases the incidence of cardiac, metabolic, and inflammatory diseases.25,26 However, cognitive behavior therapy—one of the nonpharmacological approaches and the current standard recommendation—requires sufficient amount of time and workforce to administer. The possibilities of impaired liver or renal function due to chemotherapies or cancer-related issues call for safer pharmacological approaches for patients with cancer and survivors of cancer.

 

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Herbal Medicines, Integrative Cancer Care

Kamikihito improves cancer-related fatigue by restoring balance between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems

Kamikihito improves cancer-related fatigue by restoring balance between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems

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CONCLUSIONS:

Fatigue was more serious in patients with cancer than in control patients. Kamikihito rescued this fatigue and improved anxiety and sleepiness. It restored autonomic nervous system balance and antioxidant function.

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Integrative Cancer Care, Medical Acupuncture

Understanding the Benefits of Acupuncture Treatment for Cancer Pain Management

  • Two types of pain caused by cancer treatment in which several acupuncture studies have been conducted are: (1) aromatase inhibitor–associated arthralgia (AIAA) and aromatase inhibitor–associated musculoskeletal symptoms (AIMSS) and (2) chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN).
  • There is a moderate amount of evidence supporting the analgesic effect of acupuncture. In selected patients, acupuncture can be a useful addition to a comprehensive pain management plan.
  • Acupuncture is generally safe when performed by properly trained practitioners. There are specific safety precautions for cancer patients.
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Integrative Cancer Care, Medical Acupuncture

Systematic review and meta‐analysis of acupuncture to reduce cancer‐related pain

Systematic review and meta‐analysis of acupuncture to reduce cancer‐related pain

our findings support acupuncture as an effective treatment in alleviating pain among cancer patients and survivors, particularly malignancy-related and surgery-induced pain. To expand the application of acupuncture on cancer-related pain, investigators should clearly define the types of cancer pain (e.g. malignancy related pain) as inclusion criteria in the future studies.
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Herbal Medicines, Integrative Cancer Care

Survival Benefits of Western and Traditional Chinese Medicine Treatment for Patients With Pancreatic Cancer

Survival Benefits of Western and Traditional Chinese Medicine Treatment for Patients With Pancreatic Cancer

We conclude, from this small retrospective study, that TCM treatment was associated with a survival benefit in patients with pancreatic cancer. In addition, TCM in combination with WM would be a better optimal treatment for patients with pancreatic cancer to improve survival time. More importantly, we provide TCM practitioners with a proposal that heat-clearing, diuresis-promoting and detoxification TCM treatment may improve the efficacy of TCM in patients with pancreatic cancer.

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Three Kinds of Supporting TCM Treatment Methods on Pancreatic Cancer and Most Commonly Used Herbs of Each Method
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Herbal Medicines

Emerging approaches of traditional Chinese medicine formulas for the treatment of hyperlipidemia

hyperlipidemia herb

Emerging approaches of traditional Chinese medicine formulas for the treatment of hyperlipidemia

Results

More than 50 TCM formulas have been used to treat hyperlipidemia. These herbs can primarily be grouped into three categories: (1) herbs promoting excretions, generally by reducing food retention, enhancing purgative effects, and promoting diuresis and choleretic effects, e.g., Fructus Crataegi (), Radix Polygoni Multiflori (), Semen Cassiae (), and Radix et Rhizoma Rhei (), Rhizoma alismatis (), and Herba Artemisiae Scopariae (); (2) herbs acting on the cardiovascular system, generally by improving blood circulation based on TCM theories, e.g., Radix Salviae Miltiorrhizae (), Radix Puerariae (), Rhizoma Chuanxiong (), Flos Carthami (), and Folium Nelumbinis (); and (3) herbs that have tonic effects, e.g., Fructus Lycii (), Radix Ginseng (), and Radix Astragali ().

Conclusions

Three basic approaches, including excretory function enhancement, cardiovascular system improvement, and tonic effect reinforcement, are emerging among TCM formulas for the treatment of hyperlipidemia. These approaches may be useful in controlling blood lipid levels, preventing cardiovascular complications, and adjusting bodily functions in hyperlipidemic patients. However, solid evidence of the efficacy of these treatments is required.

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