Breast cancer drugs: real and fake acupuncture ‘relieves side effects’

270477-acupunctureAnticancer drugs are known to cause an array of side effects for cancer patients. But new research suggests that both real and “sham” acupuncture treatments could help mitigate the side effects of these drugs for breast cancer patients. This is according to a study published in the journal Cancer.

The researchers say they found very little difference in the benefits between the real acupuncture and the “sham” acupuncture.

“It could be that there is no difference, or it could be that in this small trial we just didn’t have enough patients to detect a significant difference,” says Dr. Bao.

Furthermore, the researchers say that patients showed no side effects from either acupuncture treatment.

Dr. Bao adds:

“This is important because other treatments for symptoms often do have side effects, so showing that this treatment works without side effects could be a big improvement in the treatment of cancer survivors.”


  • Medical News Today, Wednesday 25 December 2013 – 12am PST
  • Patient-Reported Outcomes in Women With Breast Cancer Enrolled in a Dual-Center, Double-Blind, Randomized Controlled Trial Assessing the Effect of Acupuncture in Reducing Aromatase Inhibitor-Induced Musculoskeletal Symptoms, Ting Bao, Ling Cai, Claire Snyder, Kelly Betts, Karineh Tarpinian, Jeff Gould, Stacie Jeter, Michelle Medeiros, Saranya Chumsri, Aditya Bardia, Ming Tan, Harvinder Singh, Katherin H. R. Tkaczuk, Vered Stearns, published in the journal Cancer, 23 December 2013. Abstract