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Acupuncture May Have Place
in Breast Cancer Treatment

(HealthScoutNews) -- The effectiveness of acupuncture in reducing the severity of menopausal symptoms in women who have breast cancer is the focus of a new University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing study.

Participants in the study, funded by the U.S. National Cancer Institute, will be divided into three groups. One group will receive menopause-specific acupuncture, the second group will receive general acupuncture and the third group will receive the usual care.

Women receiving acupuncture will have 12 acupuncture treatments. Women in the usual care group will attend educational sessions to learn about non-hormonal menopausal symptom management strategies and healthy living.

Before and after each session, saliva samples will be collected from each study participant. Those saliva samples will be tested for levels of cortisol. A decrease in cortisol levels indicate that acupuncture produced a relaxation effect.

The study will continue through 2004.

For years, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) has been the primary treatment for menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, headaches, insomnia and anxiety. But studies show that HRT increases the risk of uterine cancer and that estrogen combined with progestin increase the risk of breast cancer.

Some health professionals believe alternative therapies such as acupuncture may be a safer way to treat those symptoms of menopause.

It's believed the acupuncture stimulates the nervous system and releases endorphins, the body's natural painkillers, and hormones that influence the body's self-regulating system.

Anyone interested in taking part in this study can get more information by phoning 412-624-4597.

More information

Here's where you can learn more about acupuncture.


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