List your Practice List a School List an Event Contact Us
Account Login View Cart Cart ($0.00)

Acufinder.com is the leading resource for everything to do with Acupuncture, Chinese Herbs and Asian Medicine. It is the premier Web destination for those seeking health and wellness for themselves and their loved ones through the principles of Oriental Medicine. We are the voice of authority for up-to-date health and wellness information from an Eastern Medicine perspective.

Search for Acupuncturists Search for Acupuncture Schools Search for Acupuncture Events
Explore Acufinder

Learning & Resource Center Articles

Print Page Print Page
Send to a Friend
Bookmark and Share
Acupuncture Eases Side Effects of Head, Neck Cancer Treatments
By: Diane Joswick, L.Ac., MSOM
Acupuncture provides significant reductions in pain, dry mouth and shoulder dysfunction for patients after head or neck cancer surgery, according to a clinical study released at the 2008 meeting of the American Society for Clinical Oncology this month.

Neck dissection, or removal of the lymph nodes and surrounding tissue, is common in treating head and neck cancers. Common side effects of this procedure include pain and shoulder dysfunction.  Postoperative radiation is also frequently administered, leading to dry mouth.

Seventy patients took part in a random study by Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) researchers, in New York, at least three months after they underwent cancer surgery and radiation treatment.

The participating patients were randomized to receive weekly acupuncture sessions for four weeks or "customary care", which includes physical therapy exercises and the use of anti-inflammatory drugs.

Almost 40 percent of participants receiving acupuncture experienced improvements in both pain and mobility, compared with just 7 percent in the standard-care group.

There was also a notable decrease in dry mouth. "Five people in the acupuncture group had improvements as opposed to none in the usual-care arm," study author Dr. David Pfister, chief of the head and neck medical oncology service at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.

"Although further studies are needed, this does support the potential role of acupuncture," Pfister said.

Source: American Society for Clinical Oncology, June 2008