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Can Acupuncture Help Breast Cancer Patients?

For the 246,000 American women likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer this year invasive, but critical treatments are likely to become a part of their realities. Surgery, chemotherapy and hormone therapy can all prove crucial in successfully treating this disease, but they can take their toll on the body in the process. Researchers are finding that integrative medicine can, in fact, help some women deal with the after effects of treatment. Acupuncture has been shown to help women enjoy a higher quality of life while providing better control over hot flashes that tend to present along with hormonal therapy.

The study in question involved nearly 200 women who were given either enhanced self-care or enhanced self-care and acupuncture to combat treatment-related hot flashes. The women in the acupuncture group ultimately reported significantly fewer hot flashes over the course of the study than those who did not receive this form of treatment.
Integrative medicine treatments, such as acupuncture and mediation, have long been used by many practitioners in conjunction with standard cancer treatments. These treatments can often help people better cope with therapy-related side effects while also reducing stress levels and other concerns. Women interested in auxiliary treatments are advised to speak with their healthcare providers for advice before diving in.

Generally, if a practice such as acupuncture offers relief and does not interfere with the main treatment plan, doctors will give a green light.

All women are technically at risk for the development of breast cancer over the course of their lifetimes. With that in mind, it is highly recommended that women discuss early screening with their healthcare providers. Routine mammograms are generally recommended after midlife, but regular self-exams and annual checkups are advised at all ages. Early detection of this disease can result in high survival chances.

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