To help cancer patients better cope with the side effects of chemotherapy, radiation and other treatments, and to help cancer survivors bounce back faster, the Abramson Cancer Center is offering acupuncture as a supplement to conventional medical care.
The acupuncture therapy, available by appointment only, is part of the Center’s Integrative Medicine and Wellness Program and will focus on providing relief from common treatment-related symptoms such as nausea, pain and fatigue.
“Our goal with acupuncture is to allow patients to deal with the side effects so they can better adhere to the traditional medical treatments, and to help survivors become more resilient,” says Jun J. Mao, assistant professor in Family Medicine and Community Health at the Abramson Center and the attending consult physician for the Symptom and Palliative Care Service at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.
A nationally recognized integrative cancer symptom specialist who has been trained in acupuncture both in the United States and China, Mao will administer the treatments to patients after evaluating their symptoms and the underlying medical reasons behind them.
“I’ll discuss the indications and expected effects of acupuncture for specific symptoms,” he says. For example, patients often experience immediate relief from nausea, but may require several acupuncture sessions to notice relief from chronic fatigue or joint pain.
Over the past few decades, the practice of acupuncture has become more widely accepted by the public and the medical community in the United States as a complementary treatment to conventional medicine. According to a national survey, Mao says, 3 million American adults currently receive acupuncture on an annual basis.
“At the Abramson Cancer Center, we not only practice acupuncture but also conduct research to determine the effectiveness of acupuncture for symptom management as well as the best way to integrate this therapy into conventional cancer care,” Mao says.
However, most health insurance plans do not cover acupuncture therapy, therefore the Abramson Center will offer it as a fee-based treatment, with the first session costing $120 and return visits costing $60 each.
Appointments can be scheduled by calling 215-615-5858. To learn more about the Abramson Cancer Center, go to http://penncancer.org/.
Originally published on July 1, 2010