According to new research from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and Fudan University Shanghai Cancer Center, acupuncture has been claimed to prevent radiation-induced chronic dry mouth. Though there have already been studies validating the claims of acupuncture and cancer patient recovery, this is just another step in the right direction to fully support the effects of acupuncture and alternative therapies, alike.
Researchers claim that, when given as a complement to radiation therapy for head and neck cancer, acupuncture has shown for the first time to reduce the effect of chronic dry mouth. This form of dry mouth is called xerostomia and is severe and debilitating to patients. It impairs the quality of life, which is already at stake, by making it hard to eat, sleep, and speak. The lack of saliva and mucous also allows for an increase in oral infections.
Though there have been past treatments for this condition, they have had a limited effect. That is why these findings are so vital to the cancer-treatment community. The study has produced the first randomized controlled trial of acupuncture for the prevention of xerostomia. There have been studies in the past regarding the benefits of acupuncture after it develops, but not to just prevent it.
The study conducted at the Fudan University Shanghai Cancer Center, showed that patients treated with acupuncture and radiation showed positive changes as early as three weeks. Within one month of treatment, the acupuncture group had low xerostomia numbers and increased saliva volumes. This study was long-term, and produced positives conclusions for up to six months.
Many of the researchers, thrilled with the findings, are now conducting studies to see the effects of acupuncture on other cancer-treatment symptoms. There have been many anecdotal claims by cancer patients of the effects, but the proof of science will set it mainstream.
Though this is just one example of the benefits of a natural therapy, acupuncture has been used by patients with any form of cancer prognosis. This study is not limited to just head and neck cancer. Patients suffering from aggressive and painful cancers like, non-hodgkin’s lymphoma or mesothelioma, swear by the effects of acupuncture.
by guest blogger Allison Brooks