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Acupuncture For Lung Cancer In Houston TX
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How Acupuncture Can Help with
Lung Cancer

Though acupuncture itself is an ancient form of Chinese medicine, oncology acupuncture is a newly-emerging field that has shown promise in many types of cancer. That includes lung cancer, as acupuncture can help patients by:

  • Reducing pain
  • Reducing the severity of GI symptoms, such as nausea and constipation
  • Improving sleep
  • Reducing anxiety and depression
  • Improving the chances of quitting smoking
  • Offsetting the side effects of chemotherapy or surgery

These benefits are not unique to lung cancer, as acupuncture’s system-wide effects can improve many types of disease.

How Can Acupuncture Treatment Help with Lung Cancer?

In lung cancer patients, acupuncture treatments can play a significant adjunct, or supportive, role. When used in conjunction with other cancer treatments, acupuncture can provide several benefits, including:

  • Reduced pain and discomfort – Acupuncture is a proven painkiller, as it stimulates the body into releasing a cocktail of beneficial compounds during treatment. These compounds include endorphins (the body’s feel-good biochemicals) and a host of endogenous opioid compounds. These are naturally produced substances that our bodies use to modulate pain signaling intensity and are therefore effective in a range of pain-causing conditions.

  • Reduced nausea and constipation – Acupuncture treatments are also associated with improved GI performance and reduced GI discomfort. Studies show that acupuncture can reduce the number of nausea or vomiting episodes and reduce the occurrence of constipation through improved gastrointestinal motility.

  • Reduced anxiety and depression – Acupuncture is also used in people suffering from anxiety or depression, whether these mental conditions are secondary to another medical condition or the primary diagnosis. In both instances, regular acupuncture treatments are associated with improved mood and well-being, which can give cancer patients an edge in managing their condition.

  • Improved sleep – Studies show that acupuncture can also help cancer patients achieve better sleep. This is partly attributed to reduced anxiety, but acupuncture also stimulates additional melatonin production, which can help people fall asleep and stay asleep.

  • Help with smoking cessation – Auricular (ear) acupuncture has long been an effective therapy for smoking cessation. Although the exact mechanisms aren’t completely understood, auricular acupuncture can reduce tobacco cravings and alter the taste of tobacco in people who receive it. This can improve the likelihood of quitting smoking, which can help improve outcomes in lung cancer patients.

  • Better tolerance with treatment side effects – Acupuncture is a popular adjunct option in part because it can offset the side effects of many other drugs. This is especially important in cancer patients, who may face debilitating adverse effects due to chemotherapy or surgery.

What the Medical Research Says About Acupuncture and Lung Cancer

There are numerous studies linking acupuncture to better quality of life in cancer patients. Some of the studies that address acupuncture and lung cancer in particular include:

  • A 2022 meta-analysis published in Frontiers in Oncology. Researchers considered 33 lung cancer trials and a total of 3,002 patients in this analysis. Though the research team concluded that more high-quality studies were required, it found broad quality-of-life improvements in a large number of patients. Specifically, patients in the acupuncture groups reported improvements in the pain, nausea, acute vomiting, constipation, fatigue, and sleep quality experienced, according to patient surveys.

    These results were observed in patients whose symptoms were either caused by the cancer itself or induced by chemotherapy. In both cases, acupuncture treatment was effective at improving quality of life.
  • A 2013 study published in Current Oncology. This study was small – only 33 patients were included – but the research itself was of high quality and included patients taken from the Peter Brojde Lung Cancer Center in Montreal. Patients included those who received chemotherapy and those who received surgery. During (or following) anticancer treatment, patients received an average of seven acupuncture sessions.

    Following the acupuncture sessions, the research team noted a clinically significant improvement in several areas, including improved pain and nausea scores. Patients also reported better appetites and reduced anxiety.

These are just a couple of lung cancer and acupuncture studies, but there are several more that confirm these positive results. 

The Importance of Working with a Reputable Acupuncturist

Compared to almost all other cancer therapies, acupuncture is well-tolerated by the vast majority of patients, but only if it’s administered by a licensed and experienced acupuncturist. More importantly, it’s recommended that patients seek out a board-certified physician who can also provide acupuncture.

If your acupuncturist is also certified in allopathic medicine, they will have access to the best of western and Chinese medicine. For lung cancer patients, this can open up access to a wider range of treatment options and more opportunities to attain relief from symptoms.

Acupuncture Therapy Can Help Lung Cancer Patients Attain Better Quality of Life

Lung cancer is a difficult diagnosis for patients to deal with. The prognosis can also be challenging, but acupuncture treatments can help patients improve their quality of life and manage the effects of anticancer treatment. When acupuncture therapy is provided by a board-certified physician, acupuncture is well-tolerated by most. If you are battling lung cancer and looking for additional relief, consider integrating acupuncture into your treatment regimen.

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