An eye-opening study conducted by researchers from the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York provides welcome news on pain relief for mesothelioma patients. The research, published in the journal JAMA Oncology, shows that the use of acupuncture reduces chronic musculoskeletal pain in cancer survivors more effectively than traditional treatments, including pain medication, physical therapy and steroid injections.
Pain of Mesothelioma Can Be Relentless
Malignant mesothelioma is a rare and fatal form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. Pain is an early symptom of the disease, and unfortunately it becomes a constant companion as the disease’s tumors increasingly put pressure on nerves and nearby organs. Relief can be evasive, so the results of this study may prove particularly helpful.
The randomized trial, which focused on a diverse group of cancer patients rather than specifically on mesothelioma patients, looked at the impact of two different types of acupuncture, comparing their results to usual care. It found that electroacupuncture cut pain by 1.9 points more than usual care, while auricular acupuncture – a technique involving the placement of acupuncture needles in the air – diminished mean pain by 1.6 points compared with usual care.
Acupuncture’s Impact on Pain Called “Clinically Important and Durable”
According to the study’s co-author Jun J. Mao, MD, “The magnitude of effect of electroacupuncture was clinically important and durable. Their findings are consistent with evidence from other large acupuncture trials for chronic pain in the general population. Electroacupuncture has been shown to influence endogenous opioid release, which provides a mechanistic basis for chronic pain management.”
The authors point to the importance of their results in light of the enormous pain burden shouldered by cancer survivors, with almost half reporting inadequate pain relief. “The present trial includes a large and diverse group of cancer survivors and provides evidence that electroacupuncture provides additional benefits beyond usual care, including not only reduction in pain severity, but also improvements in physical function and quality of life and reductions in analgesic use.”
If you or someone you love suffers from mesothelioma-related pain, this study and others like it can prove incredibly useful. For similar information and resources, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net today at 1-800-692-8608.