Acupuncture effective for hot flushes associated with breast cancer treatment.

Research finds acupuncture an effective treatment for hot flushes caused by anti-oestrogen (Tamoxifen or Anastrozole) therapy in breast cancer patients.

A follow-up after the investigation confirmed that the benefits lasted for a least one month after the cessation of acupuncture treatments.

Remarkably, every single one of the patients had significant reduction of hot flushes’ intensity. The severity was reduced between 70 to 95 percent for all patients in the study. In addition, the number of hot flushes was also significantly reduced.

Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer among women. Out of all the cases only 1% happens in men. Only lung cancer causes more deaths per year. Two-thirds of women contract breast cancer over the age of 50. A genetic predisposition towards breast cancer increases the risk for women by a rate of approximately 55 to 85 percent.

Anti-oestrogen hormonal therapy lowers the volume of oestrogen and by blocking the action of oestrogen on breast cancer cells. This type of therapy is not effective in women with hormone receptor negative breast cancer. Side effects of anti-oestrogen therapies often include fatigue, hot flushes, mood swings, vaginal discharge and vaginal dryness.

The researchers note that the findings support acupuncture as a treatment for hot flushes for women with breast cancer undergoing anti-oestrogen therapy.


Jeong, Young Ju, Young Sun Park, Hyo Jung Kwon, Im Hee Shin, Jin Gu Bong, and Sung Hwan Park. “Acupuncture for the Treatment of Hot Flashes in Patients with Breast Cancer Receiving Antiestrogen Therapy: A Pilot Study in Korean Women.” The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine (2013).

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