A study published, in March 2010 (in Acupuncture in Medicine/British Medical Journal) reports a 50% reduction in measured anxiety scores following a single, 5-minute acupuncture treatment. All enrolled patients had a history of severe anxiety prior to undergoing dental procedures. The patients received their acupuncture treatment 5-minutes prior to undergoing a dental procedure.
It is not uncommon for cancer patients to experience significant anxiety surrounding their conventional cancer treatment (i.e. chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery, etc.) Although this study was not conducted with cancer patients, it is certainly compelling to consider using a similar, 5-minute acupuncture treatment in the oncology setting.
As a medical acupuncturist and radiation oncologist, I often recommend and use acupuncture to help patients with stress and anxiety. My patients almost always tell me that acupuncture helps them a lot in reducing these and other symptoms (i.e. stress, anxiety, pain, fatigue, nausea, hot flashes.)
Increasingly, acupuncture colleges are incorporating clinical rotations for their students in oncology offices, cancer centers and oncology inpatient settings. If you are considering a trial of acupuncture, I recommend asking your cancer care team for a referral to an acupuncturist that has training and experience in working with cancer patients.