Cancer patients could benefit from acupuncture and other forms of Chinese medicine, according to an expert who spoke at Australia’s leading oncology conference yesterday.
Dr Xiaoshu Zhu, from the Centre for National Institute of Complementary Medicine at the University of Western Sydney, presented a review at the COSA ASM of evidence that suggests acupuncture can help with cancer symptoms including pain, chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting, fatigue, insomnia, anxiety, hot flushes and numbness.
Dr Zhu said that while more research was needed into the mechanisms behind the effectiveness, it was thought to relate to sending signals to the central nervous system, activating neurological and hormonal responses in the brain.
“In the past, complementary Chinese medicine such as acupuncture hasn’t been recommended or researched by conventional medical practitioners involved in cancer care,” Dr Zhu said. “I want to challenge this view by presenting a range of evidence that demonstrates that acupuncture has a valuable role to play in patient care.”