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Acupuncture as a Treatment Modality for the Management of Cancer Pain: The State of the Science

Anne Seton Hopkins Hollis

acupressure, acupuncture, complementary and alternative therapies
ONF 2010, 37(5), E344-E348. DOI: 10.1188/10.ONF.E344-E348

Purpose/Objectives: To explore the current state of the science regarding acupuncture as a treatment modality for cancer pain.

Data Sources: PubMed and CINAHL® databases were searched, as were Web sites from the National Cancer Institute, the National Institute of Health's Complementary and Alternative Medicine Program, and the American Cancer Society.

Data Synthesis: This article synthesizes nine years of published research on the use of acupuncture as an adjunct treatment for the management of cancer pain.

Conclusions: Findings suggest a lack of level I evidence regarding the use of acupuncture as a cancer pain treatment modality. The majority of evidence is level III or higher; therefore, causality cannot be inferred.

Implications for Nursing: Future research should focus on level I and level II evidence, controlling for variables to strengthen validity, and addressing sample size to enhance the generalizability of results. Nurses should be knowledgeable about the state of the science evidence available to assist patients in making educated decisions.

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