Saturday, April 29, 2006

Head and Neck Cancer Complications Treated With Acupuncture

Radiotherapeutic treatment of head and neck cancer patients often causes long-term dysfunction involving their salivary function, swallowing capabilities, and taste. Salivary gland dysfunction from radiation therapy is often the most unpleasant side effect of treatment. (See full text article on Acupuncture for xerostomia) Other preliminary data also suggests acupuncture might be effective for chemotherapy-induced leukopenia, postchemotherapy fatigue, radiation therapy-induced xerostomia, insomnia, and anxiety. However, the utilization rate of acupuncture remains low despite the wide use of other complementary and alternative medical therapies among cancer patients. This low usage of acupuncture in cancer patients indicates a health care quality issue. IMPLICATIONS FOR NURSING PRACTICE: Oncology nurses need to increase their awareness of the available evidence in the use of acupuncture in the supportive care of cancer patients.See abstract