Acupuncture may help relieve cancer fatigue: UK study

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 31 October, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 31 October, 2012, 3:50am

Acupuncture may help ease fatigue in women who have had breast cancer, a study has found.

Cancer and cancer treatments can cause chronic pain, stress and anaemia, all of which contribute to fatigue.

In addition, people who are nauseated after chemotherapy might not be getting the most nutritious diet for maintaining energy levels.

For the research, which was conducted in the UK and appeared in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, Alexander Molassiotis from the University of Manchester and his colleagues tracked 227 women with moderate or severe cancer-related fatigue treated with six weekly acupuncture sessions and another 75 women who did not get the acupuncture.

The women had all received chemotherapy for breast cancer in the five years before the study, and most had felt chronically tired for a year or more.

After just six weeks, the study found that general fatigue had dropped by almost four points on a 0-20 scale among the women who had had acupuncture, compared with a less than one point decline in the other group.

"Acupuncture is an effective intervention for managing the symptom of chemo-related fatigue and improving patients' quality of life," wrote Molassiotis and his colleagues.