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  • Writer's pictureAku Energija

Akupunktura učinkovito lajša simptome, povezane z rakom

Vedno več bolnikov z rakom se zaradi napornega konvencionalnega zdravljenja odloča za komplementarno in alternativno zdravljenje, da bi izboljšali kakovost svojega življenja. Med temi celostnimi pristopi sta tradicionalna kitajska medicina (TKM) in akupunktura varna in učinkovita možnost v boju proti simptomom, povezanih z rakom.

Stiske, povezane z rakom, so obsežne in kompleksne ter vključujejo tako telesne kot duševne vidike, ki se nadaljujejo tudi po končanem zdravljenju raka. Akupunktura je postala priljubljeno dopolnilno zdravljenje v onkologiji, zlasti kot nefarmakološka alternativa za obvladovanje simptomov. [Preberi več: Tradicionalna kitajska medicina pri zdravljenju raka]

Dokazi, ki podpirajo akupunkturo za simptome, povezane z rakom

Pregled nedavnih randomiziranih kontroliranih raziskav akupunkture v onkologiji kaže, da ima akupunktura obetavno vlogo pri obvladovanju različnih simptomov, povezanih z rakom in zdravljenjem le-tega. Ugotovljeno je bilo, da je akupunktura varna, poceni in učinkovita terapija, ki bolnikom z rakom dodatno omogoča, da aktivno sodelujejo pri svojem načrtu oskrbe. [1]

Simptomi, ki se odzivajo na zdravljenje z akupunkturo, so: bolečina, neželeni učinki na prebavila, vročinski oblivi, težko dihanje, utrujenost, tesnoba, depresija in nespečnost. Bolniki po zdravljenju raka po vsem svetu pozdravljajo podporno zdravljenje, ki lahko zmanjša simptome brez potrebe po dolgotrajnih zdravilih in izboljša kakovost njihovega življenja. [1,2]

Kako akupunktura deluje

Akupunktura, ki izhaja iz tradicionalne kitajske medicine (TKM), je terapevtska tehnika. Vključuje vbadanje tankih igel, izvajanje pritiska ali električne stimulacije ter edinstven koncept življenjske energije - Qi. Z natančnim uravnavanjem pretoka energije v telesu in zagotavljanjem uravnoteženega kroženja qija lahko ublaži vrsto simptomov raka. To bolniku prinaša tako fizične kot psihološke koristi. Te pozitivne učinke je mogoče opaziti skozi spremembe v delovanju živčnega in hormonskega sistema. [Preberi več: Če bi bila akupunktura zdravilo, bi rekli, da zdravilo deluje]

Pri katerih simptomih, povezanih z rakom, lahko pomaga akupunktura?

Akupunktura je varno zdravljenje z minimalnimi stranskimi učinki in je klinično učinkovita pri zdravljenju različnih simptomov, povezanih z rakom, kot so:

Bolečina 

Več kot polovica bolnikov z rakom še vedno trpi zaradi hudih bolečin, ki negativno vplivajo na kakovost njihovega življenja. Bolečina je lahko posledica samega raka, zdravljenja raka ali pa je povsem nepovezana z rakom. Zaradi neuspešnega farmakološkega obvladovanja bolečine, odvisnosti od analgetikov ali njihovih neželenih učinkov bolniki iščejo druge razpoložljive načine zdravljenja, ki ne vključujejo zdravil. [Preberi več: Akupunktura učinkovita pri kroničnih mišičnoskeletnih bolečinah pri prebolelih za rakom]

Utrujenost

Utrujenost, povezana z rakom, je eden najpogostejših stranskih učinkov kemoterapije in radioterapije. Tudi po končanem zdravljenju bolniki pogosto težko nadaljujejo z običajnimi vsakodnevnimi dejavnostmi. V prospektivni študiji faze II [1] na bolnikih s trajno utrujenostjo, ki so končali kemoterapijo, je akupunktura povzročila znatno zmanjšanje izhodiščne ocene utrujenosti.[Preberi več: Akupunktura učinkovita pri sindromu kronične utrujenosti]

Slabost in bruhanje

Akupunkturna stimulacija v točki PC6 se je večkrat izkazala za klinično uporabno zdravljenje pooperativne slabosti in bruhanja ter emeze, povzročene s kemoterapijo. Leta 1998 je Nacionalni inštitut za zdravje v ZDA izjavil, da je "akupunktura dokazano učinkovit način zdravljenja slabosti in bruhanja". [1]

Kserostomija (suha usta)

Kserostomija, znana tudi kot suha usta, se pojavi, kadar ni dovolj sline. Ta simptom je lahko posledica obsevanja, kemoterapije ali nekaterih zdravil. Spremljajo ga izguba okusa ter težave pri govorjenju in požiranju. Zdravljenje z akupunkturo lahko pomaga pri povečanju pretoka krvi v obušesno žlezo slinavko, poveča proizvajanje sline in spodbudi regeneracijo tkiva. [1]

Z rakom povezani vročinski oblivi in simptomi menopavze

TKM in akupunktura blažita vročinske oblive in druge simptome, povezane tako z menopavzo kot s hormonskim zdravljenjem raka. V dveh randomiziranih kontroliranih študijah [2] so ugotovili, da je akupunktura pri ženskah, ki so se zdravile s tamoksifenom zaradi raka na dojki, zmanjšala vročinske oblive za do 60 %.  [Poiščite več informacij o tem, kako lahko TKM pomaga ženskam] [Preberite več: Menopavza in TKM]

Tesnoba in depresija

Raziskovalci so opazovali spremembe v stopnji depresije in tesnobe v različnih študijskih skupinah in z uporabo bolnišnične lestvice za oceno tesnobe in depresije ugotovili, da je zdravljenje z akupunkturo izboljšalo tesnobo in depresijo . [2] 

Poleg akupunkture v Združenem kraljestvu zdravniki bolnikom po začetnem zdravljenju priporočajo, da 1-2 minuti masirajo akupunkturna zrnca, nameščena na dveh zgornjih prsnih točkah "ASAD" - točkah tesnobe, slabosti in dispneje, da zagotovijo zmanjšanje tesnobe. Ta praksa ne zagotavlja le olajšanja, temveč bolnikom omogoča tudi, da sami obvladujejo zaskrbljujoče simptome med napadi panike. [1] [Preberite več o tem, kako lahko TKM pomaga pri tesnobi in depresiji.]

Nespečnost

Akupunktura se na Kitajskem pogosto uporablja pri zdravljenju nespečnosti, tudi klinične študije so pokazale, da ima akupunktura v primerjavi z zahodnimi zdravili pozitiven učinek na težave s spanjem. Raziskave kažejo, da ima akupunktura velik potencial za obvladovanje nespečnosti, povezane z rakom, pri bolnikih ali preživelih za rakom. [3,4]  [Preberite več o tem, kako lahko TKM pomaga pri nespečnosti]

Dispneja (oteženo dihanje)

Pilotna študija je pokazala znatno izboljšanje subjektivnih ocen zadihanosti, sproščenosti in tesnobe po 90 minutah pri bolnikih z napredovalim rakom, tudi ko so bili drugi načini zdravljenja, kot so steroidi, opioidi, nebulizatorji in terapije s kisikom, neuspešni. [1]

Levkopenija

Levkopenija pomeni zmanjšanje števila levkocitov oz. belih krvničk. Te so primarna obramba telesa pred okužbami, zato je zaradi tega stanja posameznik izpostavljen večjemu tveganju za okužbo. Randomizirane kontrolirane študije so pokazale [5], da lahko akupunktura poveča število belih krvnih celic po kemoterapiji, zmanjša pojavnost mielosupresije in izboljša klinično učinkovitost zdravljenja. [Preberi več: Za boljši imunski sistem - okrepite svoj Wei Qi]

Limfedem

Limfedem je oteklina tkiva, ki nastane zaradi kopičenja tekočine, bogate z beljakovinami, ki se običajno odvaja skozi telesni limfni sistem. Pojavi se kot posledica zdravljenja raka, radioterapije bezgavk ali napredovanja onkološke bolezni. Pri bolnikih z limfedemom so v študijah [2] poročali o znatnem zmanjšanju spremembe obsega roke in intenzivnosti bolečin v sklepih, ko so akupunkturo uporabljali skupaj s telesnimi vajami za zgornje okončine.

Periferna nevropatija

Nekatere kemoterapije in zdravila, ki se uporabljajo za zdravljenje raka, lahko poškodujejo periferne živce, kar povzroči odrevenelost, šibkost, pekoč občutek ali bolečino v dlaneh ali stopalih. To lahko traja tudi več kot 6 let po končanem zdravljenju. Nedavna pilotna študija, objavljena leta 2022 [2], je pokazala obetavne rezultate pri zdravljenju periferne nevropatije, povzročene s kemoterapijo, z akupunkturo, pri čemer je bila stopnja odziva do 66,7 %.

Dokazov, ki podpirajo uporabo akupunkture pri različnih vrstah težav, povezanih z rakom, ne manjka. Akupunktura je zelo uporabno orodje za obvladovanje stranskih učinkov raka. Osredotoča se na ponovno vzpostavitev pretoka energije, ki je moten zaradi zdravljenja raka. Za več informacij in osebni načrt zdravljenja se posvetujte z zdravnikom TKM.


Viri:

  1. David O'Regan, Jacqueine Filshie, Acupuncture and cancer, Autonomic Neuroscience, Volume 157, Issues 1–2, 2010, Pages 96-100, ISSN 1566-0702, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.autneu.2010.05.001.

  2. Valença RJV, Costa REAR, Fernandes SMS, Yamamura ML, Acupuncture in breast cancer, Brazilian Society of Mastology, Volume 32, 2022, https://doi.org/10.29289/2594539420220032 

  3. Cao H, Pan X, Li H, Liu J. Acupuncture for treatment of insomnia: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials. J Altern Complement Med. 2009 Nov;15(11):1171-86. doi: 10.1089/acm.2009.0041. PMID: 19922248; PMCID: PMC3156618. 

  4. Zhang J, Zhang Z, Huang S, Qiu X, Lao L, Huang Y, Zhang ZJ. Acupuncture for cancer-related insomnia: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Phytomedicine. 2022 Jul 20;102:154160. doi: 10.1016/j.phymed.2022.154160. Epub 2022 May 14. PMID: 35636168.

  5. Nian J, Sun X, Zhao W, Wang X. Efficacy and safety of acupuncture for chemotherapy-induced leukopenia: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Medicine (Baltimore). 2022 Oct 21;101(42):e30995. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000030995. PMID: 36281119; PMCID: PMC9592432.

 

Acupuncture Effective in Relieving Cancer-Related Symptoms

As cancer patients undergo rigorous conventional treatments, an increasing number are turning to complementary and alternative therapies to enhance their quality of life. Among these holistic approaches, Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and acupuncture stand out as a safe and effective treatment in the fight against cancer-related symptoms.

The sufferings associated with cancer are vast and complex, including both physical and mental aspects, which last even after the end of cancer treatment. Acupuncture has become a popular complementary treatment in oncology, especially as a non-pharmacological alternative for symptom control. [Read more: Traditional Chinese Medicine in the Treatment of Cancer]

Evidence Supporting Acupuncture For Cancer-Related Symptoms

A review of recent randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of acupuncture in oncology suggests that acupuncture has a promising role in controlling a wide variety of cancer and treatment-related symptoms. Acupuncture was found to be a safe, low-cost cost and effective therapy, which further permits cancer patients to actively participate in their own care plan. [1]

Symptoms that seem to respond to acupuncture treatment include pain, gastrointestinal side effects, hot flushes, shortness of breath, fatigue, anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Post-cancer treatment patients worldwide welcome a supportive therapy, which can reduce symptoms without the need for long-term medication and improve their quality of life. [1,2]

How Does Acupuncture Work

Acupuncture, rooted in Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), is a therapeutic technique. It involves thin needle insertion, pressure application, or electrical stimulation and the unique concept of life energy - Qi. By fine-tuning the body's energy flow, ensuring balanced circulation of Qi, it can alleviate a range of cancer symptoms. This results in both physical and psychological benefits for the patient. These positive effects can be observed through changes in the activities of the nervous and hormonal systems.

What Cancer-Related Symptoms Can Acupuncture Help?

Acupuncture is a safe treatment with minimal side effects, and is found to be clinically effective for the management of various cancer-related symptoms including:

Pain 

Over half of cancer patients still suffer significant pain which adversely impacts their quality of life. Pain may arise from the cancer itself, cancer treatments, or may be completely unrelated to the cancer. The pharmacological failure to control the pain, analgesic dependence or their adverse effects has led patients to seek out other non-drug treatments available. [Read more: Acupuncture effective for chronic muscular pain in cancer survivors]

Fatigue

Cancer-associated fatigue stands out as one of the most frequent side effects of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Even after the treatment, patients often find it difficult to resume their regular daily activities. In a prospective phase II study [1] on patients with persistent fatigue who had completed chemotherapy, acupuncture resulted in a significant reduction in baseline fatigue scores. [Read more: Acupuncture Found Effective for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome]

Nausea and vomiting

Acupuncture stimulation at the point PC6 has repeatedly been shown to be a clinically useful treatment for postoperative nausea, vomiting, and chemotherapy-induced emesis. By 1998, the National Institute for Health in the US stated that “acupuncture is a proven effective treatment modality for nausea and vomiting”. [1]

Xerostomia (Dry mouth)

Xerostomia, also known as dry mouth, happens when there is not enough saliva. This symptom may be caused because of the radiation, chemotherapy or certain medication. It is accompanied by the loss of taste and difficulty in speaking and swallowing. Acupuncture treatment can help with increasing blood flow to the parotid glands, increase salivation, and stimulate tissue regeneration. [1]

Cancer-related hot flashes and menopausal symptoms

TCM and acupuncture have been found to reduce hot flashes and other symptoms associated with the menopause, as well as hormonal treatments for cancer. Two RCTs [2] found that acupuncture reduced hot flushes by up to 60% in women treated with Tamoxifen for breast cancer [Find more information on how TCM can help women] [Read more: Menopause and TCM]

Anxiety and depression

Researchers observed changes in depression and anxiety severity across study groups and concluded that acupuncture treatment improved both anxiety and depression using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale. [2] 

Besides acupuncture, in the UK following an initial treatment, doctors recommend patients to massage acupuncture studs placed on the two upper sternal ‘ASAD’ points — anxiety, sickness and dyspnoea points for 1–2 min to provide the reduction of anxiety. This practice not only provides relief but also empowers patients to manage distressing symptoms during panic attacks. [1] [Read more on how TCM can help with anxiety and depression.]

Insomnia

Acupuncture is commonly used in treating insomnia in China, and clinical studies have shown that acupuncture may have a beneficial effect on insomnia compared with Western medication. Researches suggest that acupuncture has great potential for managing cancer-related insomnia in patients or survivors. [3,4]  [Read more on how TCM can help with insomnia]

Dyspnoea (Shortness of breath)

Even when other interventions like steroids, opioids, nebulizers, and oxygen therapies have failed, a pilot study showed significant improvement in subjective scores of breathlessness, relaxation, and anxiety at 90 minutes in patients with advanced cancer-related dyspnea. [1]

Leukopenia

Leukopenia means a decrease in the number of leukocytes or white blood cells. They are the body's primary defense against an infection which is why this condition places individuals at increased risk of infection. RCTs showed [5] that acupuncture can increase white blood cell count after chemotherapy, reduce the incidence of myelosuppression and improve the clinical treatment effectiveness. [Read more: Strengthen your Wei Qi for better immunity]

Lymphedema

Lymphedema refers to tissue swelling caused by an accumulation of protein-rich fluid that's usually drained through the body's lymphatic system. It occurs as a consequence of cancer treatment, lymph node radiotherapy or progression of oncological disease. In patients with lymphedema, studies [2] reported a significant decrease in change in arm circumference and joint pain intensity when acupuncture was used with upper extremity physical exercises.

Peripheral neuropathy

Some of the chemotherapy and drugs used to treat cancer can damage peripheral nerves, resulting in numbness, weakness, burning or pain in the hands or feet. This can last even after 6 years of treatment. A recent pilot study, published in 2022 [2], demonstrated promising results in treating chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy with acupuncture, with response rates of up to 66.7%.

There is no shortage of evidence supporting the use of acupuncture for various kind of discomfort related to cancer. Acupuncture is a very useful tool for managing cancer side effects. It focuses on restoring the energy flow that cancer treatments disturb. For more information and a personalised treatment plan, please consult a TCM practitioner.


References: 

  1. David O'Regan, Jacqueine Filshie, Acupuncture and cancer, Autonomic Neuroscience, Volume 157, Issues 1–2, 2010, Pages 96-100, ISSN 1566-0702, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.autneu.2010.05.001.

  2. Valença RJV, Costa REAR, Fernandes SMS, Yamamura ML, Acupuncture in breast cancer, Brazilian Society of Mastology, Volume 32, 2022, https://doi.org/10.29289/2594539420220032 

  3. Cao H, Pan X, Li H, Liu J. Acupuncture for treatment of insomnia: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials. J Altern Complement Med. 2009 Nov;15(11):1171-86. doi: 10.1089/acm.2009.0041. PMID: 19922248; PMCID: PMC3156618. 

  4. Zhang J, Zhang Z, Huang S, Qiu X, Lao L, Huang Y, Zhang ZJ. Acupuncture for cancer-related insomnia: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Phytomedicine. 2022 Jul 20;102:154160. doi: 10.1016/j.phymed.2022.154160. Epub 2022 May 14. PMID: 35636168.

  5. Nian J, Sun X, Zhao W, Wang X. Efficacy and safety of acupuncture for chemotherapy-induced leukopenia: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Medicine (Baltimore). 2022 Oct 21;101(42):e30995. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000030995. PMID: 36281119; PMCID: PMC9592432.


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