Acupuncture in cancer pain
Abstract and key points
- Needling of specific points on the body surface.
- Not demonstrably effective for pain management in cancer patients.
- Serious complications are probably rare.
- For cancer pain, the use of acupuncture is not proven beyond reasonable doubt.
Acupuncture usually entails needling specific points of the body surface. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) philosophy, illness is caused by imbalances of energies in the body and acupuncture is seen as a treatment that re-balances energies. Many practitioners advocate its use for a wide range of conditions and symptoms.
According to the most reliable evidence, it is not demonstrably effective in controlling cancer pain. Mild adverse effects can be expected in about 10% of all cases and serious complications, such as pneumothorax and hepatitis, seem to be rare. In conclusion, for the proven management of cancer pain, the benefits of acupuncture do not seem to outweigh its risks.
|Citation||Edzard Ernst, CAM-Cancer Consortium. Acupuncture in cancer pain [online document]. http://upgrade.cam-cancer.org/CAM-Summaries/Alternative-Medical-Systems/Acupuncture-in-cancer-pain. March 11, 2011.|
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