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Integrating Auricular Point Acupressure into Real-World Nursing Practice to Manage Cancer-Related Pain

Trial Status: Active

This trial examines how well auricular point acupressure works in managing cancer-related pain. Cancer-related pain is considered one of the most challenging symptoms that cancer patients experience. Auricular point acupressure is a form of acupressure based on traditional Chinese medicine where specific points on the ear are stimulated. Auricular point acupressure is similar to acupuncture but without the use of needles. Instead, small herbal seeds are taped to specific ear points. These seeds are pressed by the individual to stimulate the ear points and achieve pain relief. Auricular point acupressure may help manage cancer-related pain without the use of medication and respective side-effects.

Inclusion Criteria

  • Nurses who are practicing at Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center (SKCCC) for at least one year
  • Palliative care nurse
  • Nurse educators related to cancer patients
  • Cancer patients with worst pain rated as 4 or more on a 0–10 numeric rating scale in the last 24 hours, which will use the EPIC pain scale
  • Able to read and write English
  • Able to apply pressure to the seeds taped to the ears
  • Patients with any cancer type will be eligible for this study so long as they are experiencing cancer-related pain
  • Owns smart cellphone

Exclusion Criteria

  • Delirious patients
  • Ear skin disease
  • Non-English speakers
  • Latex allergy to the tape used for this study
  • Women who are pregnant


Johns Hopkins University / Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center
Status: ACTIVE
Contact: Chao Hsing Yeh
Phone: 667-208-7637


I. To determine the effectiveness of a training course of auricular point acupressure (APA) among nurses who work in the oncology inpatient unit to provide APA for cancer-related pain (CRP).

II. To examine patients’ primary outcomes (i.e., pain intensity, pain interferences, and the dose of analgesic use) and secondary outcomes (i.e., fatigue and sleep) after APA.


PHASE I: Nurses receive education on APA consisting didactic presentations over 8 hours and hands on training over 4 hours. Nurses also participate in interviews over 15-20 minutes after completing the workshop, during recruitment (around the 10th patient recruited), and at the end of recruitment (the completion of 20 patients recruited).

PHASE II: Patients undergo APA by trained oncology nurse.

After completion of APA, patients are followed for 3 consecutive days.

Trial Phase Phase NA

Trial Type Supportive care

Lead Organization
Johns Hopkins University / Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center

Principal Investigator
Chao Hsing Yeh

  • Primary ID j18142
  • Secondary IDs NCI-2020-03799, IRB00183805, CRMS-70185
  • ID NCT04040140