Acupuncture Continuing Education

Acupuncture Study: Acupuncture Reduces Cancer Pain

A recent study finds that acupuncture is effective for reducing pain in cancer patients. It is estimated that upwards of 70 percent of cancer patients do not get adequate pain relief. The new study and detailed review of randomized controlled trials shows that acupuncture has a role in pain management for cancer patients.

Over 40 percent of patients with early to moderate stage cancer suffer from moderate to severe pain. Over 90 percent of individuals with advanced stage cancer suffer from moderate to severe pain. Pain is due to pre-existing conditions, tumor growth, bone metastases, cancer treatments, and progression of the disease.

Acupuncture for the treatment of patients with cancer became recognized as an important treatment application following a 1997 National Institutes of Health study showing that acupuncture is effective for treating nausea due to chemotherapy. Since that time, acupuncture has been shown to treat many types of pain for musculoskeletal conditions. This new study reviewed randomized controlled trials and found that one body of research in particular, published in the European Journal of Pain, pointed to the ability of acupuncture to relieve pain for cancer patients. The study also calls for more research to be conducted based on this evidence.


1 Paley CA, Johnson MI, Tashani OA, Bagnall AM. Acupuncture for cancer pain in adults. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2011, Issue 1. Art. No.: CD007753. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD007753.pub2.
2 Acupuncture. NIH Consensus Statement 1997 Nov 3-5; 15(5):1-34.
3 Lee H, Schmidt K, Ernst E. Acupuncture for the relief of cancer- related pain-A systematic review. European Journal of Pain 2005;9 (4):437–44.