Using Traditional Acupuncture for Breast Cancer-Related Hot Flashes and Night Sweats


Autor: SweatsBeverley A. de Valois et al


Journal: J. of ALTERNATIVE AND COMPLEMENTARY MEDICINE Volume 16, Number 10 , englisch


Objectives:
Women taking tamoxifen experience hot flashes and night sweats (HF&NS); acupuncture may offer a nonpharmaceutical method of management. This study explored whether traditional acupuncture (TA) could reduce HF&NS frequency, improve physical and emotional well-being, and improve perceptions of HF&NS. Design/settings/location: This was a single-arm observational study using before and after measurements, located in a National Health Service cancer treatment center in southern England.
Subjects:
Fifty (50) participants with early breast cancer completed eight TA treatments. Eligible women were ????35 years old, ????6 months post active cancer treatment, taking tamoxifen ????6 months, and self-reporting ????4 HF&NS incidents/24 hours for ????3 months.
Interventions: Participants received weekly individualized TA treatment using a core standardized protocol for treating HF&NS in natural menopause.
Outcome measures:
Hot Flash Diaries recorded HF&NS frequency over 14-day periods; the Women’s Health Questionnaire (WHQ) assessed physical and emotional well-being; the Hot Flashes and Night Sweats Ques- tionnaire (HFNSQ) assessed HF&NS as a problem. Measurements taken at five points over 30 weeks included baseline, midtreatment, end of treatment (EOT), and 4 and 18 weeks after EOT.
Results for the primary outcome:
Mean frequency reduced by 49.8% (95% confidence interval 40.5–56.5, p < 0.0001, n 1⁄4 48) at EOT over baseline. Trends indicated longer-term effects at 4 and 18 weeks after EOT. At EOT, seven WHQ domains showed significant statistical and clinical improvements, including Anxiety/Fears, Memory/Concentration, Menstrual Problems, Sexual Behavior, Sleep Problems, Somatic Symptoms, and Va- somotor Symptoms. Perceptions of HF&NS as a problem reduced by 2.2 points (standard deviation1⁄42.15, n1⁄448, t1⁄47.16, p<0.0001).
Conclusions:
These results compare favorably with other studies using acupuncture to manage HF&NS, as well as research on nonhormonal pharmaceutical treatments. In addition to reduced HF&NS frequency, women enjoyed improved physical and emotional well-being, and few side-effects were reported. Further research is warranted into this approach, which offers breast cancer survivors choice in managing a chronic condition.
Introduction


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