Acupuncture and Breast Cancer

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Story Updated: Dec 26, 2013

A popular complementary medical treatment may help ease some of the side effects brought on by drugs commonly used to combat breast cancer.

A new study finds that acupuncture helps alleviate joint and muscle pain, stiffness and hot flashes in women taking anticancer drugs called aromatase inhibitors.

Researchers recruited 47 breast cancer patients taking these drugs who suffered these symptoms.

Half underwent eight weekly acupuncture treatments. The other half received fake or sham acupuncture that involved non-penetrating, retractable needles placed on non-acupuncture points.

Both groups reported fewer symptoms and benefits for real and fake acupuncture were about the same.

The researchers say further study is needed to determine whether sham acupuncture is truly inert or may bring about physiological effects similar to those produced by real acupuncture.

I'm Dr. Cindy Haines of HealthDay TV with the news doctors are reading health news that matters to you.

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The UHS Sports Medicine Program specializes in diagnosing and treating orthopedic and sports-related injuries, providing care on an outpatient basis. The program combines the expertise of certified athletic trainers and physical therapists, who work closely with sports medicine physicians on our medical staff to help patients resume their physical activities as soon as possible.