Is It Safe To Have Acupuncture If I'm Undergoing Cancer Treatment? If So, How Might It Help?

Dr. Barrie Cassileth answers the question: 'Safe To Have Acupuncture?'

ByBarrie Cassileth, Ph.D, Sloan Kettering
December 23, 2008, 5:52 PM

—Jan. 13, 2010 -- b>Question: Is it safe to have acupuncture if I'm undergoing cancer treatment? If so, how might it help?

Answer:Acupuncture is a wonderful complementary therapy that can be used actually prior to cancer treatment or during cancer treatment or after it. It helps in many different ways. Acupuncture can reduce nausea and vomiting, which these days is not as commonly associated with chemotherapy as it was years ago. These days there are very good antiemetics, anti-nausea agents that are given along with chemotherapy. So that it is rare or much rarer than it was even a few years ago for patients to experience nausea and vomiting, but acupuncture does a great job of that and can be used along with and during chemotherapy.

A side effect of chemotherapy, when the nerves are damaged either by surgery or chemotherapeutic agents, is a tingling painful sensation in the nerves called neuropathy, and acupuncture can do a very good job of treating that as well. Acupuncture's also useful for a variety of other things.

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