Interest in acupuncture has grown because of its effectiveness and concerns over the use of opioid-based pain-relief drugs, which can be extremely addictive and nasty side effects. Besides more and more patients seek treatment in private acupuncture clinic. Many cancer centers in the United States also offer complementary therapies for pain relief. Almost 90% of US National Cancer Institute-designated cancer centers suggest that patients try acupuncture, and over 70% offer it as a treatment for side effects.
However, there are still quite opposition voices such as Dr. Steven Novella, a neurologist at Yale University School of Medicine and founder of the blog Science-Based Medicine. “Acupuncture has no scientific basis”, he says; recommending it “telling patients that magic works”.
In the midst of such striking differences, additional evidence based researches have been conducted to explore the effect of acupuncture in difference aspects of conventional medicine. The largest-ever clinical trials into whether acupuncture can relieve pain in cancer patients has reignited a debate over the role of this contested technique in cancer care.
Oncologists who conducted a trial of real and sham acupuncture in 226 women at 11 different cancer centers across the United States say their results — presented on 7 December 2017 at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium in Texas — conclude that “the treatment significantly reduces pain in women receiving hormone therapy for breast cancer. They suggest it could help patients stick to life-saving cancer treatments, potentially improving survival rates”. Even it is almost impossible to conduct completely rigorous double-blinded trials of acupuncture, these researches have given acupuncture a strong support of its integration into conventional medicine. Least, people are not waiting for science to discover how acupuncture works before they start to use it. It is scientists role to continue to work on it, and it is the doctor’s role to treat patients with any means available. Here, acupuncture is the right tool with no side effect.