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Topics in Complementary and Alternative Therapies (PDQ®)

Health Professional Version


Acupuncture is a part of traditional Chinese medicine practiced in China and Asia for thousands of years. It has been used clinically to manage cancer-related symptoms, treat side effects induced by chemotherapy or radiation therapy, boost blood cell count, and enhance lymphocyte and natural killer cell activity. In cancer treatment, the primary use of acupuncture is symptom management; commonly treated symptoms are cancer pain, chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, and other symptoms that affect a patient’s quality of life, including weight loss, anxiety, depression, insomnia, poor appetite, and gastrointestinal symptoms (constipation and diarrhea). Refer to the PDQ summary on Acupuncture for more information.

  • Updated: April 13, 2015