Weidong Lu, Lead Oncology Acupuncturist at the Zakim Center for Integrative Therapies at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute will be speaking on July 7th, 2015, along with his colleagues, at the Integrative Medicine Grand Rounds that we host at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
Read this PMC article “The Value of Acupuncture in Cancer Care” co-authored by Lu. This article was first published in Hematology/Oncology Clinics of North America.
“In the United States, acupuncture is used to treat a variety of symptoms and conditions associated with cancer and the side effects of cancer treatments. A number of cancer centers in the U.S., including Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI) in Boston, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, and M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston are integrating acupuncture into cancer care. This trend parallels a broader trend of increasing use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) among cancer patients, estimated in some surveys to range between 48% and 83%.
Specific use of acupuncture by cancer patients is estimated to range between 1.7% and 31%. Despite interest by conventional care providers and the public in the integration of acupuncture into cancer care, the full extent to which acupuncture can be applied to oncology care is limited by research evidence regarding its efficacy and safety in treating and preventing cancer-related symptoms.
There are a few conditions for which sound research has demonstrated acupuncture to be an effective and safe adjunct therapy for cancer care. Randomized clinical trials (RCT) have demonstrated that acupuncture is effective for chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. Research studies also suggest acupuncture may be helpful in managing cancer-related pain, chemotherapy-related neutropenia, cancer fatigue, and radiation-induced xerostomia.
Acupuncture, an ancient medical treatment originating in China, is gaining momentum and acceptance as a valid intervention in medical practice. In the past decade acupuncture and other integrative medicine programs have been established in many major medical centers in the United States.
For example in November 2000, the Leonard P. Zakim Center for Integrative Therapies (Zakim Center) was established at DFCI, a teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School, to provide complementary therapies to patients of DFCI. The Zakim Center is named in memory of Lenny Zakim, a cancer patient and advocate for an integrative approach to cancer treatment. The mission of the Center is to educate and empower patients and staff by integrating the practice of complementary therapies into traditional cancer treatments.”