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Practical Ways to Incorporate Acupuncture Into Clinical Practice

With the national crisis of opioid abuse focusing attention on nonpharmaceutical pain relief, new data on acupuncture has oncologists taking a deeper look at this complementary therapy.

Most recently, another phase 3 trial, Southwest Oncology Group (SWOG) S1200, has shown that acupuncture is a viable alternative to medication to relieve symptoms related to cancer and cancer treatment—in this case, joint pain associated with aromatase inhibitors.[1] However, a lack of awareness about advances in acupuncture research is one reason some oncologists do not prescribe it for patients.

"Today, there are enough well conducted phase 3 trials of acupuncture showing benefits for multiple symptoms—not just arthralgias, but also fatigue and hot flashes—and physicians are starting to realize that this is an actual therapy we can offer to patients to help them," said Julie Nangia, MD, an assistant professor and director of the Breast Cancer Prevention and High Risk Clinic at Baylor College of Medicine.

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