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Acupuncture Might Ease Fatigue Linked to Breast Cancer
Date:11/2/2012

By Alan Mozes
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Nov. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Offering breast cancer patients a relatively short regimen of acupuncture alongside standard treatment can help alleviate some of the crippling fatigue that often accompanies the disease, according to a new study.

The magnitude of help that patients undergoing acupuncture experienced was deemed by the study team to be "both statistically and clinically important."

"I am quite excited with these results," said study lead author Alex Molassiotis, a professor of cancer and supportive care with the school of nursing, midwifery and social work at the University of Manchester, in England. "They provide some good evidence of an effect of acupuncture for the management of a very debilitating and burdensome symptom for patients."

"The addition of a new treatment approach gives patients and health professionals more options," Molassiotis added, noting that the range of options specifically designed to address fatigue issues among cancer patients has been limited.

The study appeared online Oct. 29 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

More than 40 percent of breast cancer patients experience significant cancer-related fatigue, according to background information included in the study. For some patients the problem may persist at a moderate or even severe level for years following the cessation of treatment.

To explore the potential of acupuncture treatment, the authors focused on more than 300 women with breast cancer who were being cared for as outpatients at one of nine health care facilities across the United Kingdom.

At the time of the study, participants had been diagnosed with either stage 1, 2 or 3 breast cancer, and all had been experiencing at least moderate levels of fatigue for an average of 18 months. Most were white, and their average age was 53.

For a six-week period, all patients continued to receive the s
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