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Acupuncture During Breast Cancer Treatment

Acupuncture has been shown to have numerous positive effects for those undergoing treatment for breast cancer or any form of chemotherapy.

Clinical research indicates that acupuncture can reduce symptoms of vomiting and nausea. A study by Duke University found that oncology patients who underwent acupuncture treatments before their breast cancer surgery had fewer nausea episodes in comparison to those whom were only prescribed Zofran, an anti-nausea medication.

One of the most thorough studies of acupuncture in breast cancer patients was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2000. In this study, 104 women undergoing high-dose chemotherapy were given traditional anti-nausea medication. In addition to the medication, these women were chosen at random to receive either five days of acupuncture, electro-acupuncture, or no acupuncture. Those who had acupuncture had significantly fewer nausea episodes than those who did not.

In addition to vomiting and nausea, breast cancer patients may experience other symptoms as a side effect of aromatase inhibitors, which is a drug that is often prescribed to prevent breast cancer from returning postoperatively. Side effects of aromatase inhibitors may include depression, menopause, and hot flashes. In a John Hopkins Kimmel Center study, researchers determined that as few as eight weeks of acupuncture could decrease the average hot flash severity by 31%. Furthermore, patients also saw significant improvements in their menopausal and depressive symptoms.

Research is ever ongoing; studies continue to show that acupuncture can help alleviate chemotherapy-induced side effects. Please give us a call at 301.880.3232 and it will be our pleasure to schedule a comprehensive evaluation for you.



“Acupuncture.”, 29 Aug. 2022,

“Acupuncture, Real or Sham, Eases Hot Flashes due to Breast Cancer Chemo - 12/23/2013.”, 13 Dec. 2013, Accessed 7 Apr. 2023.

“Aromatase Inhibitors for Lowering Breast Cancer Risk.”, 16 Dec. 2021,

Lyman, Gary H., et al. “Integrative Therapies during and after Breast Cancer Treatment: ASCO Endorsement of the SIO Clinical Practice Guideline.” Journal of Clinical Oncology, vol. 36, no. 25, 1 Sept. 2018, pp. 2647–2655, Accessed 9 Jan. 2020.



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