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 integrate acupuncture into cancer care.
Recent advances in acupuncture clinical research suggest that acupuncture can provide clinical benefit for cancer patients with treatment-related side effects such as nausea and vomiting, post operative pain, cancer related pain, chemotherapy-induced leukopenia, postchemotherapy fatigue, xerostomia, and insomnia, anxiety and quality of life (QOL).
At the University of Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Medicine, a well-controlled study reported significant reduction of nausea and vomiting when pre-treated with acupuncture. It is now routinely administered before, after and in between chemotherapy sessions to control nausea and emesis.
That acupuncture is a powerful tool for general pain control is widely known. Less known is its success in cancer-related pain and in reducing narcotic use and thereby minimizing the side effects of confusion, less mental clarity, behavioral changes, nausea and severe constipation.