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Acupuncture Brings Relief to Women With Post-Cancer Surgery Hot Flushes

Hot flushes are a common event for women who have gone through surgery for breast cancer and are subsequently being treated with an anti-estrogen drug. Now it appears that Acupuncture may play a role in reducing the occurrence of these symptoms. Additionally, relief seems to continue long after the completion of Acupuncture treatments.

Women who have had surgery for breast cancer are often treated with anti-estrogen Tamoxifen following surgery and hot flushes are often associated with this medication. To counteract these symptoms, hormone replacement therapy is the traditional treatment. Now, following the success of a recent study in Tonsbery, Norway, Acupuncture may become a preferred method of alleviating the discomfort of hot flushes.

A total of 59 women were involved in the study conducted at Vestfold Central Hospital under the direction of Jill Hervik, an acupuncturist and a physiotherapist. All were postmenopausal cancer patients, and each was being treated with Tamoxifen and all were experiencing hot flushes.

The group was randomly divided between patients who would be receiving 10 weeks of Acupuncture and those who would receive sham treatment. Acupuncture was delivered at known points to the women receiving actual Acupuncture treatment twice each week for the first 5 weeks and once per week for the next 5 weeks. Sham Acupuncture was delivered on the same schedule.

All of the women were asked to keep detailed records of their hot flush symptoms for a period of 4 weeks prior to their treatment. They also kept records during their treatment and for a period of 12 weeks following their final Acupuncture session.

Ms. Hervik had this to say about the findings of the study, “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 the treatment had ceased, the number of hot flushes increased again.”

Acupuncture has proven to help with reliving many conditions, it is important to complete a full treatment program for a long lasting results.

Source: Science Daily. Press Release. “Acupuncture Relieves Hot Flushes in Breast Cancer Patients Taking Tamoxifen.” April 2008.