Findings from a new study published online this week in the journal Cancer show that electroacupuncture (EA) – a form of acupuncture where a small electric current is passed between pairs of acupuncture needles – produces significant improvements in fatigue, anxiety, and depression in as little as eight weeks for early stage breast cancer patients experiencing joint pain related to the use of aromatase inhibitors (AIs).
The findings build upon earlier research showing that EA therapy can decrease the joint pain reported by roughly 50 percent of breast cancer patients taking AIs – the most-commonly prescribed medications to prevent disease recurrence among post-menopausal women with early-stage, hormone receptor positive breast cancer. Despite their efficacy, the joint pain associated with the use of AIs often leads to fatigue, anxiety, depression, and sleep disturbances for these patients. This in turn may prompt women taking AIs to discontinue their use, thereby increasing the breast cancer mortality rate. Read a news story about the study findings here.