Tuesday, 02 April 2019 10:03

Developing Oncology Acupuncture, a New Subspecialty, at a Harvard Cancer Hospital - Weidong Lu

Acupuncture has been recommended for chronic pain in cancer survivors by the practice guideline of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). In the past 20 years, Integrative Oncology, a branch of integrative medicine, combines complementary therapies alongside conventional mainstream oncology care. Clinical trial-generated evidence has shown that acupuncture is safe and effective as an adjunctive treatment for managing cancer related symptoms. However, despite thousands of years of practice outside of conventional medical system, acupuncture use as an adjunctive therapy within a mainstream oncology setting presents an entirely new challenge.

Oncology Acupuncture, a new breed of acupuncture, has emerged as a subspecialty in cancer symptom management. We have established an Oncology Acupuncture Specialty Clinic at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI), a U.S. top cancer hospital and a principal teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School, since 2000. Our practice focuses on symptom management during the full spectrum of cancer journey, from the active treatment phase to the end-of-life care. In addition, we have conducted several randomized clinical trials (RCT) of acupuncture in cancer care. We will present the unique features of Oncology Acupuncture, describe the practice model of Oncology Acupuncture at DFCI, review RCT- leveled evidence of acupuncture for chronic pain syndromes associated with cancer treatments, and discuss future directions of Oncology Acupuncture research and practice in cancer care.