“Malignant mesothelioma (me-zoe-thee-lee-O-muh) is a type of cancer that occurs in the thin layer of tissue that covers the majority of your internal organs (mesothelium).”
It’s primary risk factor is exposure to asbestos; although it can take between 20 and 60 years to develop after exposure. Dyspnea (labored breathing), pain in the chest and weight loss can by symptomatic of other illnesses, so it’s best to see a doctor for an examination.
Acupuncture in oncology
Research suggest acupuncture is an effective, complementary, treatment method for cancer, in combination with a patient’s standard treatment protocol. It has been shown to help a patient manage their symptoms, such and chemotherapy-induced nausea, fatigue and pain. One of the mechanisms acupuncture helps to treat pain is by stimulating the release of serotonin (a neurotransmitter that induces feelings of well being and relaxation) to activate the hypothalamic pituitary axis.
Several large medical institutions have recognized the efficacy of acupuncture for oncology treatments and have incorporated it into their patient’s care regimen or offer it as an adjunctive treatment.
A number of cancer centers in the U.S., including Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI) in Boston, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, and M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston are integrating acupuncture into cancer care. This trend parallels a broader trend of increasing use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) among cancer patients, estimated in some surveys to range between 48% and 83%.
A randomized study
A study reported in the European Journal of Cancer included 173 patients with either small cell lung cancer or mesothelioma. They were divided into three treatment groups: acupuncture (A), morphine (M), or both (AM). The results — “A, M and AM were effective in relieving dyspnoea. Acupuncture relieved anxiety and was morphine sparing, providing an alternative to morphine.”
Healing with kindness
The term placebo is more often than not used as derisive term towards acupuncture, but it turns out, it applies to medical practitioners as a whole.
Research conducted by the psychology department at Stanford University, showed that a doctor’s kind words influenced a relief in patient’s symptoms.
This tells us that a physician’s words might be more powerful than we normally realize. And research shows that it is not only when patients are taking placebos that demeanor matters. In fact, provider words influence the efficacy of even our most powerful drugs and treatments.
Whether the method of treatment is acupuncture or a pill, the efficacy of the medicine is magnified by the person giving it. Be kind.