Integrative Oncology

Current Treatment Options in Oncology

, Volume 11, Issue 3, pp 141-146

First online:

Recent Advances in Oncology Acupuncture and Safety Considerations in Practice

  • Weidong LuAffiliated withLeonard P. Zakim Center for Integrative Therapies, Dana-Farber Cancer InstituteOsher Research Center, Harvard Medical School Email author 
  • , David S. RosenthalAffiliated withLeonard P. Zakim Center for Integrative Therapies, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

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Opinion statement

Oncology acupuncture is a new and emerging field of research. Recent advances from published clinical trials have added evidence to support the use of acupuncture for symptom management in cancer patients. Recent new developments include (1) pain and dysfunction after neck dissection; (2) radiation-induced xerostomia in head and neck cancer; (3) aromatase inhibitor-associated arthralgia in breast cancer; (4) hot flashes in breast cancer and prostate cancer; and (5) chemotherapyinduced neutropenia in ovarian cancer. Some interventions are becoming a non-pharmaceutical option for cancer patients, while others still require further validation and confirmation. Meanwhile, owing to the rapid development of the field and increased demands from cancer patients, safety issues concerning oncology acupuncture practice have become imperative. Patients with cancer may be at higher risk developing adverse reactions from acupuncture. Practical strategies for enhancing safety measures are discussed and recommended.