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Myth or Fact: Alternative therapies can help during treatment

The side effects of breast cancer treatment can be frustrating and difficult to treat. In some cases, these side effects may also be difficult for physicians to treat and your cancer team may suggest alternate therapies to relieve side effects. But do these therapies like yoga or acupuncture really work?

The answer is maybe.

These integrative therapies may or may not help you to relieve side effects and improve your quality of live. However, their effectiveness and value depends on the person trying the therapy. Evidence suggests that some may be effect in treatment.

Will acupuncture help?

One type of therapy that may be used to treat side effects during breast cancer treatment is acupuncture. Acupuncture is commonly used before chemotherapy appointments with a combination anti-nausea medication. It is considered possibly effective in reducing nausea from chemotherapy.

Acupuncture uses fine needles inserted into specific areas of the body to stimulate energy flow, release natural chemicals, and possibly blocking pain signals. There are no safety concerns for acupuncture when used appropriately and there are no known medication or herbal supplement interactions.

What about Yoga?

Research shows that yoga may be effective in treating the side effects of breast cancer. Specifically, yoga may improve physical activity, reduce fatigue, and relieve stress. Yoga can be between 20 and 60 minutes and can be gentle pace or fast-moving.

Are there other therapies that I can consider?

Yes. There are many therapies available that you can consider to help relieve the side effects of breast cancer treatment. However, all therapies should be discussed with your cancer care team before trying. To look at a comprehensive list of therapies, click here.

Source: Susan G. Komen – Complementary and Integrative Therapies