Complementary & Alternative Medicine for Cancer Digest: June 2016


Authors: Giron PS; Haddad CA; Lopes de Almeida Rizzi SK; Nazario AC; Facina G.
Title: Effectiveness of acupuncture in rehabilitation of physical and functional disorders of women undergoing breast cancer surgery.
Source: Supportive Care in Cancer. 24(6):2491-6, 2016 Jun.
PURPOSE: The purpose of the study is to verify the effectiveness of acupuncture in rehabilitation of physical and functional disorders of women undergoing breast cancer surgery on the following parameters: pain, range of motion, upper limb function, and depressive symptoms.
METHODS: The following are the inclusion criteria: women aged more than 18 years with scapular girdle and upper limb pain after 3 months of surgery and with pain >3 in visual analog scale. Patients were divided into two randomized groups which received weekly treatment during 10 sessions. Kinesiotherapy group (G1)-treated with a predefined kinesiotherapy protocol of 30 min. Group Acupuncture + Kinesiotherapy (G2)-treated with the same kinesiotherapy group protocol followed by another 30 min of acupuncture, used in predefined points. Both groups performed physical examination and answered the upper limb function and depressive symptoms questionnaires.
RESULTS: Forty-eight patients completed the treatment, 24 in each group. Regarding the pain, the two groups had statistically significant improvement in all evaluated moments. In the analysis of depression, it improved significantly only in G1 in the comparison between the first and the tenth session. The upper limb function had improvement in G1 only in the comparison between the first and the tenth session and in G2, in the three evaluation moments. The range of motion (ROM) showed improvement in all evaluated movements.
CONCLUSIONS: There was no difference between groups. Both groups showed statistically significant improvement of the items assessed: pain, depression, upper limb function, and ADM, and there was no difference between them.

Authors: Lesi G; Razzini G; Musti MA; Stivanello E; Petrucci C; Benedetti B; Rondini E; Ligabue MB; Scaltriti L; Botti A; Artioli F; Mancuso P; Cardini F; Pandolfi P.
Title: Acupuncture As an Integrative Approach for the Treatment of Hot Flashes in Women With Breast Cancer: A Prospective Multicenter Randomized Controlled Trial (AcCliMaT).
Source: Journal of Clinical Oncology. 34(15):1795-802, 2016 May 20.
PURPOSE: To determine the effectiveness of acupuncture for the management of hot flashes in women with breast cancer.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: We conducted a pragmatic, randomized controlled trial comparing acupuncture plus enhanced self-care versus enhanced self-care alone. A total of 190 women with breast cancer were randomly assigned. Random assignment was performed with stratification for hormonal therapy; the allocation ratio was 1:1. Both groups received a booklet with information about climacteric syndrome and its management to be followed for at least 12 weeks. In addition, the acupuncture group received 10 traditional acupuncture treatment sessions involving needling of predefined acupoints. The primary outcome was hot flash score at the end of treatment (week 12), calculated as the frequency multiplied by the average severity of hot flashes. The secondary outcomes were climacteric symptoms and quality of life, measured by the Greene Climacteric and Menopause Quality of Life scales. Health outcomes were measured for up to 6 months after treatment. Expectation and satisfaction of treatment effect and safety were also evaluated. We used intention-to-treat analyses.
RESULTS: Of the participants, 105 were randomly assigned to enhanced self-care and 85 to acupuncture plus enhanced self-care. Acupuncture plus enhanced self-care was associated with a significantly lower hot flash score than enhanced self-care at the end of treatment (P < .001) and at 3- and 6-month post-treatment follow-up visits (P = .0028 and .001, respectively). Acupuncture was also associated with fewer climacteric symptoms and higher quality of life in the vasomotor, physical, and psychosocial dimensions (P < .05).
CONCLUSION: Acupuncture in association with enhanced self-care is an effective integrative intervention for managing hot flashes and improving quality of life in women with breast cancer.

Authors: Strong RA; Georges JM; Connelly CD.
Title: Pilot Evaluation of Auricular Acupressure in End-Stage Lung Cancer Patients.
Source: Journal of Palliative Medicine. 19(5):556-8, 2016 May.
BACKGROUND: Dyspnea is a common symptom in end-stage lung cancer patients and is only infrequently controlled. Currently, the use of complimentary therapies using traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), including auricular application of Vaccaria segetalis (a small seed), is understudied. Acupressure using auricular Vaccaria segetalis application has been reported as effective in reducing dyspnea when applied to a specific area of the ear associated with lung function in the TCM paradigm.
OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this feasibility study was to evaluate the effects of standardized auricular acupressure therapy using Vaccaria segetalis on dyspnea intensity and distress and oxygen saturation in end-stage lung cancer patients.
METHODS: The experimental design was three conditions with eight measurement points in time. Patients were randomly assigned to one of three treatment conditions: (1) Standard Care (SC); (2) SC with Vaccaria segetalis taped to random auricular locations (placebo); and (3) SC with Vaccaria segetalis taped to the auricular location deemed specific to lung function in TCM. Subjects were 11 hospice patients with advanced lung cancer and dyspnea. Dyspnea intensity and distress were measured by the Cancer Dyspnea Scale (CDS) and oxygen saturation was measured by pulse oximeter at eight time points.
RESULTS: Non-parametric statistical analyses suggest the presence of acupressure effects with medium to large effects and significant effect for dyspnea effort.
CONCLUSIONS: This pilot information suggests the need for further study of auricular acupressure using Vaccaria segetalis in the dyspneic advanced lung cancer population.


Authors: Kirshbaum MN; Stead M; Bartys S.
Title: An exploratory study of reiki experiences in women who have cancer.
Source: International Journal of Palliative Nursing. 22(4):166-72, 2016 Apr 2.
AIMS: To explore the perceptions and experiences of reiki for women who have cancer and identify outcome measures for an intervention study.
METHODS: A cross-sectional qualitative study of 10 women who had received reiki after cancer treatment was conducted. Interviews were audiotaped, transcribed and coded using framework analysis.
RESULTS: Key themes identified were: limited understanding of reiki prior to receiving any reiki; release of emotional strain during reiki-feelings of a release of energy, a clearing of the mind from cancer, inner peace/relaxation, hope, a sense of being cared for; experience of physical sensations during reiki, such as pain relief and tingling; physical, emotional and cognitive improvements after reiki, such as improved sleep, a sense of calm and peace, reduced depression and improved self-confidence.
CONCLUSION: Findings suggest that reiki could be a beneficial tool in the self-management of quality of life issues for women who have cancer.


Authors: Goldberg DR; Wardell DW; Kilgarriff N; Williams B; Eichler D; Thomlinson P.
Title: An Initial Study Using Healing Touch for Women Undergoing a Breast Biopsy.
Source: Journal of Holistic Nursing. 34(2):123-34, 2016 Jun.
AIM: To determine if a noninvasive complementary therapy, Healing Touch, would benefit women undergoing diagnostic procedures for the determination of breast cancer. Women often experience high levels of fear and anxiety during this diagnostic period.
STUDY DESIGN: A randomized controlled pilot study.
METHOD: An out-patient clinic specializing in breast care management was used. Seventy-three women age 18 to 85 years old participated, with 31 in the control group of standard care and 42 in the intervention group receiving Healing Touch, a noninvasive energy therapy. A specific technique, magnetic clearing, was provided by a practitioner for 15 minutes prior to the biopsy procedure. Both the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory and the Coping Resources Inventory were used preprocedurally and the following day to assess changes.
RESULTS: A mixed analysis of variance indicated that State Anxiety for the Healing Touch group showed a statistically significant reduction of anxiety that was sustained into the following day, F(2, 142) = 10.94, p < .001. For Trait Anxiety, there was a significant change pre-and postintervention to the day after, F(2, 142) = 5.15, p < .007. The Coping Resources Inventory had significant changes in two subcategories, Emotional, F(2, 142) = 6.10, p = .003, and the Spiritual/Philosophical, F(2, 142) = 6.10, p < .001, in the Healing Touch group.
CONCLUSION: Healing Touch may have benefit in reducing anxiety from diagnostic breast procedures.


Authors: Whatley J; Street R; Kay S; Harris PE.
Title: Use of reflexology in managing secondary lymphoedema for patients affected by treatments for breast cancer: A feasibility study.
Source: Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice. 23:1-8, 2016 May.
PURPOSE: The aim of this feasibility study was to examine the use of reflexology lymphatic drainage (RLD) in the treatment of breast-cancer related lymphoedema (BCRL) with a view to further research.
METHODS: An uncontrolled trial was conducted with 26 women who had developed lymphoedema in one arm following treatment for breast cancer. Changes in upper-limb volumes and in participant concerns and wellbeing were measured. Qualitative data were also collected.
RESULTS: A significant reduction in the volume of the affected arm was identified at follow-up compared to baseline. This reduction in volume appeared to be maintained for more than six months. Participant concerns were significantly reduced and their wellbeing significantly increased. No serious adverse effects were reported.
CONCLUSIONS: RLD may be a useful intervention for BCRL although the results could not be attributed to the reflexology intervention because of research design limitations. The main conclusion was, however, that there was sufficient evidence for further research using a randomized controlled trial.


Authors: Dion LJ; Engen DJ; Lemaine V; Lawson DK; Brock CG; Thomley BS; Cha SS; Sood A; Bauer BA; Wahner-Roedler DL.
Title: Massage therapy alone and in combination with meditation for breast cancer patients undergoing autologous tissue reconstruction: A randomized pilot study.
Source: Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice. 23:82-7, 2016 May.
This study explored whether massage combined with meditation is more helpful than massage alone for women recovering from autologous tissue reconstruction after mastectomy for breast cancer. Forty patients were randomly assigned to either massage therapy or massage plus meditation on postoperative days 1 through 3. Outcome measures were 1) visual analog scale (VAS) scores for stress, anxiety, relaxation, insomnia, alertness, fatigue, tension, pain, mood, and energy, and 2) Perceived Stress Scale-14 scores. Nineteen patients in each group finished the study. Preintervention and postintervention mean total VAS scores improved significantly in both groups (P < .001), but no significant difference occurred between groups.