Patients undergoing surgery for ovarian or endometrial cancer often experience anxiety and pain. A new study shows that acupressure before surgery may help reduce anxiety, and acupuncture followed by acupuncture during surgery has the added benefit of reducing severe pain. This study has been published online by Wiley. cancera peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society.
A total of 99 gynecologic cancer patients participated in a study co-led by Eran Ben-Arye, M.D., Ph.D., Lin Medical Center, Haifa, Israel. 45 in Group A, 25 in Group B, and 29 in Group C. The participant received acupressure-related touch and relaxation treatments that began 3 hours before his surgery and continued until the patient began receiving general anesthesia. They then received acupuncture during surgery, including points that have been shown to be effective in reducing pain. Group B participants received preoperative acupressure only, while Group C participants received standard care. Both preoperatively and postoperatively, patients completed a questionnaire evaluating the quality of recovery, which included pain, anxiety, and other quality-of-life questions.
Postoperative overall scores were higher in groups A and B than in group C, indicating better recovery. Group A scores related to severe pain were significantly higher than group C scores. Both intervention groups scored higher than controls on scores related to anxiety and depression.
“Patients undergoing gynecologic oncological surgery should consider including intraoperative acupuncture for pain and other quality-of-life related issues, as well as comprehensive preoperative medical touch and relaxation therapy for anxiety. There is,” said Dr. Ben-Arye. “Such ‘integrative oncology’ training is necessary for complementary health care providers, acupuncturists, surgeons, anesthesiologists, operating room nurses, and working with integrative oncology practitioners in complex operating room settings. We need to communicate.”
An accompanying editorial notes that integrative oncology is being accepted as a clinical discipline by Western medicine. Ana Maria Lopez, MD, M.P.H., MACP, FRCP, author at Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, said larger studies are needed to confirm the results. However, he emphasized that the data are being added to an increasing body of literature. Support reimbursement for integrated oncology interventions such as acupuncture.
For more information:
Acupuncture during gynecologic oncologic surgery: a randomized controlled trial evaluating the impact of integrative therapy on perioperative pain and anxiety. cancer (2023). DOI: 10.1002/cncr.34542
Ana María López, Integrative Oncology in Cancer Care: Reaching a Tipping Point, cancer (2023). DOI: 10.1002/cncr.34539
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