Cancer patients are now routinely being treated with alternative therapies such as acupuncture in addition to chemotherapy and radiation.
Dr. Nancy Snyderman, NBC’s chief medical editor, recently reported the findings of a 2010 University of Pennsylvania study during a “Nightly News with Brian Williams” segment. The study found that more than half of complementary care centers endorse the use of acupuncture in cancer care delivery, and approximately 70 percent of centers offer information about alternative therapy to their patients.
“Acupuncture does not cure cancer, but it is helpful in a cancer setting because it can control multiple symptoms, some of which are not treatable with mainstream means,” said Dr. Barrie Cassileth, head of integrative medicine at New York’s Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. “The patient is suffering from a wide range of problems.”
According to the study, acupuncture is one of the most commonly recommended complementary therapies and is particularly effective at easing discomfort and pain caused by chemotherapy.
“The good cancer centers believe that acupuncture is a cornerstone of integrative medicine,” said Snyderman. “Acupuncture can help relieve pain and nausea.”