Acupuncture in Palliative Care

Management of Cancer Symptoms and Treatment Related Side Effects

There is now mounting evidence that acupuncture is a safe and effective treatment that may be integrated into standard oncology practice. Acupuncture may help in the management of a number of symptoms related to cancer or cancer treatment, such as nausea, vomiting, fatigue, anxiety, depression, insomnia, dry mouth or peripheral neuropathy, just to name a few.  It maybe used in conjunction with standard mainstream care in order to speed up recovery after surgery, chemotherapy and radiation.  It may also be used during chemo-radiation to reduce side effects of treatments.

There were data comparing patients received acupuncture in combination with radiation therapy or chemotherapy, with group treated with radiation therapy or chemotherapy alone.  The data showed that the acupuncture group gained more body weight, showed greater improvement in the symptoms of cough, chest pain, hemoptysis, and fever for patients with lung cancer and the symptoms of chest pain, mucus vomiting, and difficulty in swallowing for patients with esophageal cancer, comparing to the no-acupuncture group. (1)

Most cancer survivors have multiple complaints of discomfort. There maybe overlaps between different symptoms, for instance, insomnia can lead to daytime fatigue, anxiety and depression if not treated effectively. When performed by an experienced holistic healer, acupuncture can target several symptoms at the same time.

In recent years, there have been increasing concerns about drug interactions. Acupuncture may be considered as an alternative to pharmacologic agents in many areas, or it can be used in conjunction with them.

Several large cancer centers have begun to provide acupuncture service to their patients, but many oncologists are still not aware of the benefits of acupuncture.  As a result, acupuncture is underutilized in cancer care currently.  Dr. Sheng has been an oncologist as well as an Acupuncturist for more than two decades.  He has treated many cancer patients and is regarded as one of the most experienced in the Cincinnati.  Please read this article.


Dr. Peter Sheng
Cincinnati Acupuncture, Chinese Herbal Therapy, Integrative Medicine & Holistic Health Care