Can Acupuncture Effectively Treat the Side Effects of Aromatase Inhibitor Therapy
In Post-menopausal women, the ovaries stop producing the hormone Estrogen naturally. This hormone is produced only in the breasts of these women. The hormone Estrogen plays a vital role in the growth of cancer cells in this part of a woman’s body. If it is detected early, an effective technique called the Aromatase inhibitor therapy, can cure Breast cancer. In this technique, the enzyme Aromatase is blocked. As a result, the breasts do not get the supply of the hormone Estrogen. This stops the growth of cancer cells. Hormones are naturally present chemical substances which carry out the normal functions of organs in our body. Enzymes are auxiliary chemical substances which help hormones in being effective in their role.
There are three Aromatase inhibitors. They are the pills Arimidex, Aromasin and Femara. Any of these pills is taken once a day. One of the common side-effects of taking these pills is joint pain and stiffness in breast cancer patients. According to a research study, scientists have found that the traditional Chinese medicinal practice, Acupuncture can be effective in providing relief from joint pain. The research was carried out at the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center.
Knowledge Gained From the Research:
- The research team chose 43 women for this study which lasted for 6 weeks.
- All these 43 women were diagnosed with early breast cancer, had Aromatase inhibitor therapy and complained of joint pains.
- The volunteers were divided into two groups.
- In one group, every volunteer was given Acupuncture treatment twice a week.
- The other group was given a pseudo-Acupuncture treatment and was kept understand observation throughout the study.
- After the study, volunteers from group one reported a significant improvement in the joint pain and stiffness.
- The severity of the pain decreased and there was an improvement in the standards of their life.
- 20 percent volunteers from group one who earlier used to take pain relief drugs, reported that they had completed stopped taking these medications.
- No such improvements were observed in the volunteers of group two.
- The results of this study were published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology and further research is under way.