Cancer weakens immunity, which is why it is common to see cancer patients getting infections much more easily than those who don't have cancer. Some examples of these types of infections include bronchitis, pneumonia, or shingles. Therefore, it is advisable to receive acupuncture to boost one's immune system or regular basis - perhaps once every other week or every third week, in order to ward off opportunistic infections.
Absolutely. As a matter of fact, shingles usually occurs among those who have weaker immune systems, and cancer patients have a lower resistance to viral infections such as shingles. Shingles, a virus that infects the nervous system, is extremely painful. It might go away by itself, but in some people, The pain may last for years, or recur years later; this condition is called post-zoster neuralgia. Acupuncture usually can take care of this nasty condition in a few treatments.
Radiation usually makes one exhausted. It can cause a loss of appetite, which leads to patients becoming thin and weak. Cancer and undergoing its therapies will cause patients to experience varying degrees of anxiety, depression, worry, and restlessness. Acupuncture can help improve all of these conditions, restoring a better quality of life.
"Quality of life is the most important issue when it comes to choosing cancer treatment, at least in my experience," muses Dr. Loh, "formed by years of working with cancer patients. There is a difference between merely 'being alive,' and truly 'living life.' Acupuncture can make the difference."
Many clinical studies have been conducted in China that demonstrate the effectiveness of acupuncture in enhancing the immune status of patients. The immune system of cancer patients is severely weakened, not only by the disease, but by the chemotherapy and radiation used to treat it. By enhancing the immune system, acupuncture can help cancer patients better tolerate chemotherapy or radiation therapy and with fewer accompanying infections.
In addition to reducing nausea and vomiting and improving the immune system, acupuncture can also help to improve appetite, relieve pain, ease insomnia, and reduce depression and anxiety associated with cancer.
"I first began using acupuncture for cancer patients when I was unable to help a woman with terrible pain from her illness using just Western medical practices," Dr. Loh reminisces. "She was receiving huge doses of morphine without any relief at all." After he was able to help manage his patient's pain using acupuncture, he began to use it more and more frequently as an adjunctive therapy for patients in his oncology practice. He has developed a number of unique and effective protocols specifically for cancer patients.
In 1997, the National Institute of Health (NIH) issued a general consensus regarding acupuncture in which it clearly accepted the effectiveness of acupuncture in treating cancer patients suffering from nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy.
It depends on the situation.
Acupuncture can help reduce the nausea and vomiting that is usually caused by chemotherapy. But it is always a good idea to tell your oncologist that you are getting acupuncture in addition to chemotherapy. Sometimes, your blood count might go down after chemotherapy and/or radiation. When white blood cells or platelet count goes down, one has to be careful when receiving acupuncture, because the risks of bleeding or infection can be hight during this period of time. It is generally not advisable to put acupuncture needles in the area that is receiving radiation, because this could result in infection and inflammation.
Always consult your oncologist or primary care physician while you are receiving other complementary therapies along with chemotherapy or radiation therapy, so that he or she can help you monitor your overall health condition and provide the best care you deserve.
There are many theories about what causes cancer, but one thing for certain is that it is connected with how the immune system operates. In general, we know that cancer patients have weaker immune systems; they tend to get sick easily. So it is logical to conclude that by improving one's immune status, one would hopefully have a better chance of conquering cancer. Many clinical studies have been conducted in China which examine the use of acupuncture for different purposes to help treat cancer patients, including using it to alleviate the effects of radiation and chemotherapy.