This study will test the feasibility of acupuncture as a complementary therapy for advanced
cancer by comparing symptoms and quality of life before and after 8 weeks of acupuncture
A large percentage of the practice and use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM)
in the United States is focused on cancer. Whether the CAM use is aimed at reducing one's
risk of developing cancer or improving the quality of life of a cancer patient during
treatment or at the end of life, the public focus on CAM and cancer has created a driving
force for cancer centers to address the efficacy and science of these methods.
Currently, the majority of cancer patients do not receive adequate palliative care.
Acupuncture has been shown to be effective in the treatment of pain and nausea and has also
been shown to improve one's general well-being. Acupuncture also has some effectiveness in
relieving symptoms of anxiety and depression. This study will evaluate the efficacy of
acupuncture by Traditional Chinese Medicine clinicians to address the quality of life and
symptoms of patients with incurable cancer.
Women with recurrent metastatic ovarian cancer and similar patients with advanced cancer who
are ambulatory and receiving conventional palliative care will be enrolled in this study.
Patients will continue to receive high-quality, conventional clinical interventions,
including chemotherapy and pain and symptom reduction programs. Patients will also receive
8 weeks of acupuncture. Evaluation tools such as Satisfaction with Life Domains Scale for
Cancer (SLDS-C), Brief Pain Inventory, and Rotterdam Symptom Check List will be used to
assess the acupuncture intervention.
- Advanced cancer patients, primarily ovarian cancer patients
- Undergoing palliative care treatment
- Symptomatic with pain, nausea, and/or an inadequate quality of life
- Platelets > 25,000/mm3
- ANC > 500 cells/mm3
- Acupuncture treatment during the 6 months prior to study entry
- History of bleeding disorder, such as hemophilia or von Willebrand disease
- Acute psychosis