Acupuncture boon for breast cancer patients

New York, Dec 28 (IANS): There's good news for breast cancer patients suffering from side-effects of estrogen-lowering cancer drugs.

Scientists have now found that acupuncture is effective in reducing menopausal symptoms in women being treated with aromatase inhibitors - that lower levels of both circulating and intra-tumoural estrogens - for breast cancer.

The randomised trial revealed that even sham acupuncture is also effective in easing side effects of cancer drugs, said a paper published in the journal Cancer.

"It has a minimal risk and potentially significant benefits," Ting Bao, medical oncologist at University of Maryland, Baltimore, was quoted as saying.

He said there was no harm in trying acupuncture.

The trial involved eight weekly sessions of either real or sham acupuncture on 47 breast cancer patients.

The researchers did not take a note of the patients receiving real acupuncture treatment and the patients receiving sham acupuncture treatment.

However, all the patients took a note of the frequency and severity of hot flashes and other symptoms associated with breast cancer medications - joint and muscle pain, night sweats, etc.

The researchers found that the patients reported improvement in their conditions, especially hot flashes symptoms.

The researchers suggested that the slight pricking of the skin could have caused physiological changes in the patients.



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