The Role of Acupuncture in the Treatment of Breast Cancer Friedrich Staebler In this article the author begins by examining breast cancer from both Western and TCM perspectives; he discusses the five types of breast cancer in orthodox medicine, the importance of the breast for women and the role of emotions in the development of the disease. He then moves on to outline acupuncture treatment approaches for early and advanced stages of breast cancer, as well as during the pre- and post-operative phase and before, during and after chemotherapy. The article concludes with four case histories which highlight the differenct forms of breast cancer and show how acupuncture and moxibustion can be helpful in supporting the various orthodox strategies and how they can influence the treatment outcomes. Read the whole article
"Cancer is a Word, not a Sentence" - A Case History about a Patient and a Practitioner who Changed their Relationship to Cancer Rebecca Avern There have been times in my practice when a patient with cancer has walked through my door and I have had a heart sink moment. Can I realistically make a difference to them? Are they secretly hoping that acupuncture will ‘cure’ their cancer? Are their expectations of what I can do for them too high? Will I feel inadequate if their cancer progresses? Should I be referring them to a herbalist too? My experience of treating J has provided a strong antidote to these feelings. It has taught me that, without doubt, I can as an acupuncturist make a positive difference to the health and wellbeing of someone with cancer, and that the experience can be an uplifting one.
Interactions between Chinese Medicines and Anticancer Drugs: An Overview Simon Becker Chinese herbal medicine (CHM) is gaining popularity in chemo- and radiotherapy support treatments. However, the potential risk of interactions seems high. Does clinical experience provide any evidence about the risks involved? Does it make sense to prescribe CHM to patients on chemo- and radiotherapy? Or are patients put at risk? In this article, these two factors – interaction potentials and clinical experience – are evaluated via a review of the current literature on these topics. The author points out that, in investigating interactions, a pharmacological approach focused on single medicinals and their compounds and relying primarily on in vitro and animal studies as well as on theoretical assumptions, does not accurately reflect standard CHM practice and is therefore of limited use in providing clinical guidance. Bothe the pharmacological and the clinical approaches must, he argues, be combined to come up with a valid conclusion. While acknowledging that currently available evidence is far from sufficient for final conclusions, the author's review finds that although there is a potential for interaction between chemotherapy and Chinese medicinals, the cautious and traditional use of CHM for chemo-and radiotherapy patients seems supported by the current literature. Preliminary clinical studies suggest that Chinese herbal medicine benefits chemo- and radiotherapy patients. Besides improving quality of life, the concurrent intake of CHM seems to reduce side-effects due to the toxicity of chemo- or radiotherapy.
Treating the Person and not the Disease: Acupuncture in the Management of Cancer Treatment-Related Lymphoedema Beverley de Valois & Rachel Peckham Using acupuncture in lymphoedema management is controversial, as it is feared that it may introduce infection or exacerbate lymphoedema. This paper presents case studies of four cancer survivors who participated in an exploratory study investigating the use of acupuncture and moxibustion as an adjunct to usual care for lymphoedema to promote wellbeing and improve quality of life. They illustrate how individualised treatment plans meet the diverse and changing needs of patients with a complex, chronic side effect of cancer treatment for which there is currently no cure. They also demonstrate that acupuncture treatment can be effective even when large areas of the body are contraindicated to needling. The stories of these four participants may help influence existing perceptions on the parts of clinicians, patients, and acupuncturists about acupuncture’s potential role in the management of lymphoedema.