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Acupuncture Can Elevate Joint Pain from Aromatase Inhibitors for Breast Cancer

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The finding may mean that (breast cancer patients) women with pain related to aromatase inhibitor use might stick to their meds longer if acupuncture eases their joint pain.

Aromatase inhibitors are a type of chemotherapy for both estrogen-positive ductal carcinoma in-situ as well as full breast cancer. While Arimidex, Femara and Aromasin, among others, can help breast cancer patients reduce the risk of relapse of their cancer these chemotherapies can cause “debilitating side effects.

According to the study linked below, acupunture can ease this joint pain. Those patients undergoing this evidence-based non-toxic therapy to ease this pain might then stick to their chemotherapy regimen more strickly than otherwise.

My name is David Emerson. I am a long-term survivor of an incurable blood cancer. I experienced many short, long-term and late stage side effects from those conventional therapies that are designed to fight my cancer. I believe that by identifying and treating your chemotherapy-induced side effects caused by aromatase inhibitors you can then experience the benefits of this chemotherapy.

I have lived with my incurable cancer since 1994 by living an evidence-based, anti-cancer lifestyle through nutrition, supplementation, detoxification and more. I am not advocating that DCIS and  breast cancer patients ignore conventional therapies such as aromatase inhibitors. I am advocating that they add evidence-based conventional therapies such as acupunture as well as nutrition, supplementation and others shown to also reduce their risk of relapse.

Thank you,

David Emerson

  • Cancer Survivor
  • Cancer Coach
  • Director PeopleBeatingCancer

Acupuncture May Reduce Treatment-Related Joint Pain for Breast Cancer Patients

“Acupuncture can reduce joint pain caused by drugs called aromatase inhibitors, according to results from a large, rigorous study of this approach in postmenopausal women with early-stage breast cancer.

“About 50% of patients on these medications complain of some joint pain or stiffness, and about half of those patients describe the pain as severe,” causing some women to stop taking the drugs, said the trial’s lead investigator, Dawn Hershman, M.D., of Columbia University Medical Center.

Several small studies have suggested that acupuncture may alleviate aromatase inhibitor–related joint pain and stiffness, although others have shown no benefit, said Dr. Hershman, who presented the findings of the new study December 7 at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. She and her colleagues designed their large study to get a clearer answer to the question of whether acupuncture can relieve aromatase inhibitor–related pain.

“Identifying interventions to address aromatase inhibitor–induced joint pain is essential but has been lacking to date. This trial demonstrated that, compared with placebo, acupuncture may provide a durable, nonpharmacologic option for improving the musculoskeletal symptoms experienced by these patients,” said Raquel Reinbolt, M.D., a medical oncologist specializing in breast cancer with The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, who was not involved with the study.

“Reducing the drug toxicity experience may then translate into improved adherence [to therapy], and ultimately, improved breast cancer outcomes,” Dr. Reinbolt said.

And, having acupuncture, along with engaging with the acupuncturist, as an alternative or in addition to taking prescription pain medications may help patients feel empowered to manage joint pain that can occur as a side effect of their cancer treatment, said Ann O’Mara, Ph.D., R.N., head of palliative care research in NCI’s Division of Cancer Prevention.

A major strength of the study is that it was a multisite trial and included many patients from general oncology practices, not just from university medical centers, Dr. O’Mara noted. This means the results are likely to be broadly generalizable to women in the community…”

Acupuncture May Ease Pain Tied to Breast Cancer Care

“Some common breast cancer medications can trigger joint pain, but new research suggests acupuncture may ease that side effect…

“If something so simple as acupuncture can improve upon these symptoms and the patients’ quality of life, we will have more women becoming compliant in taking their medication, and one would expect improved outcomes…”

Hershman’s team tracked outcomes for 226 postmenopausal women with early stage breast cancer who were taking drugs called aromatase inhibitors.

These drugs — which include Arimidex, Femara and Aromasin, among others — are often used to treat women with estrogen-sensitive breast tumors, Hershman said.

But she added that “many patients suffer from side effects that cause them to miss treatments or stop treatment altogether. We need to identify strategies to control these side effects, the most common of which is debilitating joint pain and stiffness.”

The finding may mean that women with pain related to aromatase inhibitor use might stick to their meds longer if acupuncture eases their joint pain…

 

 

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