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Acupuncture for Cancer May Relieve Mesothelioma Symptoms

mesothelioma symptoms, complementary therapy, alternative treatmentThere is new evidence that acupuncture may help relieve some of the worst symptoms of cancer and cancer treatment. The new study of this ancient practice could be good news for people with mesothelioma symptoms.

A recent study from MD Anderson Cancer Center in Texas tested acupuncture for cancer symptoms in 375 patients.

Researchers found that this ancient complementary therapy helped many cancer patients feel better. Almost three out of four of them chose to come back for at least one follow-up treatment.  

Treating Cancer Symptoms with Acupuncture

The new study did not focus specifically on mesothelioma symptoms. Most of the patients in the study had either breast cancer or cancer in the chest, head, or neck.

But their symptoms were similar to people in treatment for pleural or peritoneal mesothelioma. Patients took surveys before and after their acupuncture treatment. Before they had acupuncture for cancer, many reported poor sleep, fatigue, pain, dry mouth, nausea and hot flashes.

Then the patients received an average of three acupuncture treatments at MD Anderson’s outpatient integrative medicine center.

Mesothelioma Symptoms Similar to Study Subjects

Using acupuncture for cancer produced the best results in people with hot flashes. Other symptoms that improved with acupuncture treatment were fatigue, numbness/tingling, and nausea.

Patients who were suffering from spiritual pain saw a 59 percent improvement with acupuncture. Dry mount and nausea – both common mesothelioma symptoms – also improved by more than 57 percent.

“Outpatient acupuncture was associated with immediate and longitudinal significant improvement across a range of symptoms commonly experienced by individuals during cancer care,” writes lead study author Gabriel Lopez.

Dr. Lopez and his colleagues say more studies are needed to learn the best way to use acupuncture for cancer.

How Does Acupuncture Work?

Acupuncture is an ancient form of complementary medicine. It is based on the idea that people have lines of energy running through their bodies. When this energy gets blocked by cancer, the tiny needles used in acupuncture are supposed to unblock it.

Common mesothelioma symptoms include chest pain, breathing difficulties, fatigue and nausea. Many mesothelioma patients turn to complementary therapy to supplement their treatment. Standard mesothelioma treatments can cause serious side effects.

Acupuncture is believed to be very safe and causes few side effects. Some survivors say alternative therapies like supplements, diet and meditation have also helped relieve their mesothelioma symptoms.


Lopez, G, et al, “Outpatient acupuncture effects on patient self-reported symptoms in oncology care: A retrospective analysis of real-world data”, November 16, 2018, presented at American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting, https://meetinglibrary.asco.org/record/167144/abstract

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