Question: Will acupuncture help prevent or reduce my pain and/or nausea caused by my breast cancer or its treatment?
Answer: Acupuncture most definitely reduces pain in many people. It reduces nausea in many people. We have both an NIH, National Institutes of Health, consensus conference and a publication which is a meta-analysis of all of the research that's been done on acupuncture, and we know that acupuncture definitely has beneficial effects for many individuals. The problem is: it doesn't work for everyone. Nothing works for everyone.
So we generally recommend to patients that if they are still having nausea in addition to the pharmacologic agents that they're taking with chemotherapy -- which really should reduce the nausea almost to zero -- if they're still having some nausea, they should try acupuncture.
It may very well work. It works in the majority of patients. We are also finding, anecdotally -- and we're about to study this to see whether, in fact, it works across the board -- that acupuncture for many individuals helps reduce hot flashes, fatigue, shortness of breath, and a variety of other problems.