Acupuncture is a therapeutic technique that evolved from ancient Oriental theories and practices of medicine. Since the 1970s, it has become increasingly popular in the West as a means of preventing and treating a variety of disorders. In cancer care, it is used to complement conventional management, helping to control cancer symptoms and the side effects of treatment, as well as being used in the supportive care of cancer patients. It is suitable at any stage of the cancer experience, from diagnosis through active treatment, in palliative and end of life care, and to support survivors in re-establishing their lives. This chapter focuses primarily on the use of needling and moxibustion, as used in traditional forms of acupuncture. First, it defines acupuncture and discusses its history as well as modes of action. It also examines the evidence base on the effectiveness of acupuncture in managing cancer pain, chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, breathlessness (dyspnoea), dry mouth (xerostomia), hot flushes and night sweats, anxiety and depression, immune function, and in treating overall well-being. The contraindications of acupuncture are also considered.
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