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Acupuncture relieves hot flushes in breast cancer patients taking tamoxifen
Date:4/18/2008

pausal symptoms were also measured over the same periods using a quality of life index the Kupperman Index that incorporates symptoms such as hot flushes, sweating, sleep problems, depression, dizziness, palpitations, joint pain, headache, vaginal dryness etc.

Both the acupuncture and the sham acupuncture were given twice a week for the first five weeks and then once a week for the next five weeks. The real acupuncture was given using needles inserted at varying depths to a maximum of 3cms at several well-known acupuncture points. For the sham acupuncture, the needles were not inserted so deep (a maximum of 3mm) and in places well way from acupuncture points.

Mrs Hervik said: During the treatment, hot flushes were reduced by 50%, both day and night, in the acupuncture group. Three months after the last treatment a further reduction was seen. No significant changes were seen in the sham group during the day. At night there was a slight reduction during the treatment period but, once treatment had ceased, the number of hot flushes increased again.

This effect was paralleled in the scores from the Kupperman Index for the real acupuncture group, with a slight reduction also in the sham group. However, once treatment ceased the scores remained lowered for the treatment group, but increased for the sham group.

She concluded: Acupuncture seems to provide effective relief from hot flushes, both day and night, for women taking tamoxifen after surgery for breast cancer. This treatment effect seems to coincide with a general improvement in well-being. Acupuncture has two advantages over other treatments for hot flushes: it is cheap and does not cause adverse side-effects. Our results suggest that acupuncture could be used more widely for treating breast cancer patients suffering from symptoms related to their anti-oestrogen medication.


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Contact: Emma Mason
wordmason@mac.com
ECCO-the European CanCer Organisation
Source:Eurekalert

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