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Acupuncture Significantly Lowers Hot Flashes in Women on Endocrine Therapy

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acupuncture for hot flashes

Acupuncture has been found to significantly reduce hot flashes and other hormonal side effects of endocrine therapy. This therapy is used by women with breast cancer. A new study has found that acupuncture effectively reduces these side effects. Endocrine therapy blocks hormone signaling that usually causes some forms of breast cancer. It can save lives but up to 80% of them experience hot flashes. It increases the risk of cancer progression and even death.  

This study was recently published in Cancer. In this study, researchers involved 158 women with stage 0–III breast cancer. Then they randomized them to immediate acupuncture (IA) or delayed acupuncture control (DAC). IA women received acupuncture twice a week for 10 weeks. DAC women underwent usual care for 10 weeks and then transitioned to acupuncture with reduced intensity for 10 weeks. Researchers used standard clinical questionnaires to collect the data of their hormonal symptoms and physical, social, functional and emotional well-being.  

When researchers observed the collected data, they found that at week 10, IA participants had less symptoms as compared to DAC women. 64% of them showed improvement in hot flash frequency and 18% in severity. On the other hand, improvement was very less in DAC as only 18% of them showed improvement. Researchers also found that IA women also reported improved quality of life. They also noticed that these women did not experience any acupuncture-related side effects.  

One of the researchers said that this new approach is very important as it can help control side effects. It can also help patients stick to their prescribed medicine. It can also reduce the risk of cancer recurrence and increase long term results for breast cancer survivors.  

If individuals want to try acupuncture to reduce the risk of hot flashes and other symptoms, they can start with a short trial. This will help them understand if it works for them. If they get a positive result, they can continue with regular acupuncture sessions. It will work effectively with their medications.  

Reference Link:  

Acupuncture for Hot Flashes in Hormone Receptor-Positive Breast Cancer, A Pooled Analysis of Individual Patient Data from Parallel Randomized Trials, Cancer (2024).  

DOI: 10.1002/cncr.35374