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Acupuncture May Help Relieve Side Effects of Breast Cancer Treatment

Acupuncture can help reduce the side effects of breast cancer treatment.

Breast cancer treatments can be very harsh on the body. Women may have to deal with hair loss, hot flashes, pain and a low libido, to name a few issues. For this reason, many women take additional medication to help alleviate such irritations, but drugs come with their own side effects. Fortunately, there may be another way to regain energy and reduce the symptoms that come with breast cancer treatment. Acupuncture is a natural option, and studies suggest it's effective at improving the quality of life for breast cancer patients. 

A study published by the Henry Ford Health System looked at two specific side effects caused by cancer treatment: hot flashes and a decreased libido.Researchers found that acupuncture can actually improve those issues.

"Acupuncture offers patients a safe, effective and durable treatment option for hot flashes, something that affects the majority of breast cancer survivors. Compared to drug therapy, acupuncture actually has benefits, as opposed to more side effects," Eleanor Walker, M.D., study lead author and division director of breast services in the Department of Radiation Oncology at Henry Ford Hospital, said in a statement.

The researchers studied 50 women with breast cancer. Half were given drug treatments to aid hot flashes while the other half did acupuncture. After treatments were over, both experienced an improvement, but only the acupuncture group saw minimal hot flashes for an extended period of time. 

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