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Acupuncture relieves menopausal discomfort in breast cancer patients: A prospective, double blinded, randomized study




This study evaluates the effect of acupuncture on hot flashes and disturbed night sleep in patients treated for breast cancer. The effect of acupuncture was tested against a sham-acupuncture group and a no-treatment control group. Plasma estradiol was measured to rule out this as cause of effect. Side effects of the treatment were registered.


We randomized 94 women into the study: 31 had acupuncture, 29 had sham acupuncture and 34 had no treatment.


In the acupuncture group, 16 patients (52%) experienced a significant effect on hot flashes compared with seven patients (24%) in the sham group (p<0.05). The effect came after the second acupuncture session and lasted for at least 12 weeks after last treatment. A statistically significant positive effect was seen on sleep in the acupuncture group compared with the sham-acupuncture and no-treatment groups. The effect was not correlated with increased levels of plasma estradiol. No side effects of acupuncture were registered.


We find that acupuncture significantly relieves hot flashes and sleep disturbances and is a good and safe treatment in women treated for breast cancer.

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