But, while noting that "many patients turn to complementary therapies to bridge the gaps that Western medicine does not fill," Kruper stressed the need "to ensure that these therapies are safe, effective and reliable."
"In the world of medicine, we rely on investigational studies to guide our treatment decisions so that we provide evidence-based medicine," she said. "Complementary therapies need to undergo the same rigorous tests that Western medicine does. This study was exemplary in that it was conducted with adherence to the principles of scientific method, and hopefully a study like this will be the first of many."
Although the study found an association between acupuncture and reduced fatigue in breast cancer patients, it did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship.
For more on acupuncture, visit the U.S. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
SOURCES: Alex Molassiotis, R.N., Ph.D., professor, cancer and supportive care, School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work, University of Manchester, England; Laura Kruper, M.D., M.S.C.E,. F.A.C.S., director, Cooper-Finkel Women's Health Center, and chief, Breast Surgery Service, and assistant professor, division of surgical oncology, City of Hope Cancer Center, Duarte, Calif.; Oct. 29, 2012, Journal of Clinical Oncology online
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