Jun J. Mao, MD, MSCE, on Next Steps in Acupuncture for Managing Pain in Cancer Survivors

July 27, 2020

Using acupuncture to help manage pain associated with cancer treatment, may offer additional tools to help manage function and quality of life in survivors, according to Jun J. Mao, MD, MSCE.

Using acupuncture to help manage pain associated with cancer treatment, may offer additional tools to help manage function and quality of life in survivors, according to Jun J. Mao, MD, MSCE.

At the 2020 ASCO Virtual Program, Mao – who is chief of Integrative Medicine Service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center – presented a study designed to evaluate the comparative effectiveness of electro-acupuncture and auricular acupuncture versus usual care in managing pain in cancer survivors.

“So what we found that both electro acupuncture and your acupuncture are more effective in reducing pain intensity for cancer survivors. So the average pain reductions is approximately a 2-point reduction which is a clinically meaningful reduction,” he explained.

In an interview with CancerNetwork, Mao discussed the clinical implications of the study’s findings and what research will be conducted next.

Transcription:

There are going to be more and more cancer survivors because of the modern advancements in cancer therapy. Because this is the largest acupuncture trial conducted in the oncology setting with 360 patients, we truly hope this result can help the oncology community to begin implementing this type of acupuncture in clinical settings so that our cancer survivors have more tools available to them in addition to the drugs to manage their pain and improve their functions.

We are also trying to explore what kind of patients benefit from either type of acupuncture so we can be more precise in providing the right kind of acupuncture treatment for the right patient. I think that's going to be our next step.