Acupuncture 'could ease nerve pain after cancer treatment'

6 December 2011

Acupuncture could reduce severe nerve pain experienced as a result of cancer treatment, according to a new study.

Research published in the Acupuncture and Medicine journal suggested that patients who undergo treatment with drugs such as taxanes, vinca alkaloids or platinum compounds can often develop chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN), which damages nerves in the calves and feet and could lead to sharp pains as a result.

Out of 11 patients experiencing the peripheral neuropathy, six had acupuncture sessions and commented that the intensity of the nerve signalling improved and pain lessened. In comparison, those who did not receive any acupuncture treatment felt the same.

Authors of the study said: "The data suggest that acupuncture has a positive effect on CIPN, as measured by objective parameters [nerve conduction studies]."

They added that results were similar to those who suffered nerve damage as a result of diabetes and also patients with CIPN from an unknown cause.

Conclusions were made to further the research to distinguish the true benefits of the therapy.

According to the National Cancer Institute Cancer Bulletin, around 30 to 40 per cent of cancer patients treated with chemotherapy experience CIPN.

Posted by Edward Bartel


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