Articles by Alex Tatevian
Acupuncture in the Multidisciplinary Cancer Treatment Setting
by Alex Tatevian, DA
Southern New England Health Care Review; 2001, Vol. 11, Issue 3.;
The relationship between alternative and traditional medicine has been
carefully researched and nurtured in Rhode Island. Alternative medical
practices have become widely embraced by patients and the healthcare industry.
As popularity and demand have increased, so has the range of treatments being
offered in mainstream settings such as Woman and Infants' Hospital.
When the medical staff of the Women's Oncology Program surveyed their patients
in 1994 about the need for complimentary medical therapies, the response was
overwhelmingly favorable. Today this Women and Infants' program aptly named
Complimenting Care offers a full range of services for patients who are in the
midst of active treatment, for those who are recovering, and their families.
It remains the only program of its kind in the state of Rhode Island.
Dr. Cornelius O. "Skip" Granai, Director of the Program in Women’s
Oncology and a gynecological surgeon at Women and Infants' created and
supports the Complimenting Care team.
Dr. Granai writes, " As currently organized, medicine finds itself in
increasingly anachronistic boxes, more cynically described as turfs.
In many clinical instances, turfdom has its roots in the logic of history,
but over time such compartmentalization can approach irrelevance and even become
counterproductive. This phenomenon, as well as its consequences,
is occasionally apparent in cancer management. Into what medical-box does "cancer",
its practice and administration, fit? "
The Complimenting Care program breaks through this anachronistic
paradigm, offering patients a broad spectrum of holistic treatments.
While not a substitute for proven cancer treatments, the program offers
thoughtfully selected therapies including acupuncture, chiropractic,
therapeutic massage, meditation, hypnotherapy, aroma therapy, seaweed body
wraps, foot massage nutrition and wellness, an art support group, breast
cancer support group, an ovarian cancer support group, an animal companion
program, and a poetry project that sooth the adverse side effects that cancer
treatment and its aftermath often bring.
Acupuncture has been a part of this program since September of 2000.
Acupuncture is the stimulation of specific points on the body by insertion
of hair-thin, sterile single use needles or by other means of physical stimulation.
Acupuncture is very effective in treating the symptoms of nausea, vomiting,
anxiety, fatigue and pain. In 1997, the National Institute of Health's consensus
panel endorsed acupuncture's effectiveness in these areas. Acupuncture is a useful
adjunct to cancer treatment, enabling patients to remain on schedule with their
chemotherapy protocols. I believe that acupuncture may improve the quality of
life of the patient, and beyond that, positively influence the clinical outcome
of the treatment. This statement must be supported by additional committed research
programs to collect and analyze data.
MedLine yields over 6,000 articles about acupuncture.
Of the 2,302 acupuncture studies recently cited in a 158
page bibliography published by the National Institutes of
Health, at least 81 of them were directly related to the use of acupuncture
to prevent nausea and vomiting. The advantage of acupuncture is that it has no
adverse side effects. The adverse side effects of commonly used antiemetics are
primarily restlessness, drowsiness, fatigue, diarrhea, headache, and hypotension.
A well-controlled study completed at the UCLA School of Medicine
reported significant reduction of nausea and vomiting among chemotherapy
cancer patients when pre-treated with acupuncture. It is now routinely administered
before, after, and between chemotherapy treatment sessions for control of nausea and
vomiting. Its effectiveness helps in minimizing the use of standard, expensive
multi-drug anti-nausea regimens with their attendant side effects, given along with
the chemotherapy agents.
In Rhode Island, many women and their families have maintained their integrity
and recaptured their strength through grueling, frightening, and uncertain times. The entire Complimenting Care team and staff of the
Program in Women's Oncology are to be commended for providing a life-enhancing program.
Alex Tatevian, DA.
Southern New England Health Care Review, 2001, Vol. 11, Issue 3.
This page last updated: 14-Mar-2015