Evidence Is Building for Acupuncture as an Opioid Alternative for Cancer Pain

Jyothirmai Gubili, MS, Margaret Barton-Burke, PhD, RN, FAAN, and Jun J. Mao, MD, MSCE


Pain is the most common and debilitating side effect that patients with cancer experience. Contributing factors include the disease itself via tumor invasion on surrounding tissue and bone; nerve compression; treatments including chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery, especially chemo-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN), which can be disabling; and aromatase inhibitors that can cause persistent diffuse joint pain. In addition, pain that “breaks through” continuous pain medicine can be difficult to predict and control.

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