The function of the prostate gland is the production of seminal fluid, which mobilizes the sperm and plays important role in reproduction. It is located in front of the rectum and below the bladder. Prostate cancer is very common in men but the good news is it is a treatable form of cancer. Controlling cancer in the early stages is very critical for increasing the survival rate. The usual symptoms that announce the beginning of prostate problems are frequent urination, urgency to urinate, slow urine flow, and incomplete urination. When there is blood in the urine along with painful urination, then further examination is necessary to determine the cause. The medical fraternity has become quite interested in the role of acupuncture for the treatment for prostate cancer.
Research on Acupuncture in the Western World
Acupuncture involves the stimulation of acupuncture points in the body using extremely thin sterile needles that are FDA approved. Once the needles are inserted they are manipulated manually or by electrical micro-current. Although acupuncture is a new concept in the Western world, it has been used in China and other Asian countries for thousands of years. Acupuncture has usually been considered for the treatment of chronic pain but its efficacy in the treatment of other diseases including back pain, allergies, depression and prostate cancer has been explored. The research has verified that acupuncture can reduce inflammation and strengthen the bladder function.
The Principle behind Acupuncture Treatment
Acupuncture is an offshoot of Traditional Chinese Medicine and the premise is that the universe and the body consist of two opposing forces called yin and yang. When there is balance in yin and yang, life energy or Qi flows smoothly through meridians or pathways in our bodies. When there is a block or obstruction to the smooth flow of Qi, then diseases can occur along with pain or inflammation. During acupuncture treatment for any disease including prostate cancer, the patient lies down comfortably on a table. The acupuncturist then locates the exact acupoints related to the disease that is being treated. The needles are then inserted and stimulated for periods ranging between 5 to 30 minutes depending on the chronicity of the disease.
Acupuncture in a Supportive Role for Treating Prostate Cancer
There has been increasing research on the role of acupuncture in treating prostate cancer. It has been observed that acupuncture plays an important supportive role in the treatment of prostate and other kinds of cancers along with traditional allopathic medicine. It helps with reducing the vomiting, anxiety, and insomnia of chemotherapy. It also helps in controlling cancer related pain. The hormonal effects such as hot flashes and lethargy can be controlled to a certain extent with acupuncture. Acupuncturists often work with oncologists to help patients during their cancer treatment and ensure their physical and emotional well being. It is best to approach an acupuncturist whose credentials are well established and who is well experienced so that you get the most benefits from this avenue of treatment.
Summary: The supportive role of acupuncture in the treatment of prostate cancer to decrease the side effects of radiation or chemo therapy has been recognized and most cancer treatment centers provide acupuncture during chemo or radiation therapy. Boston Chinese acupuncturists have significant experience in treating cancer patients at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. Our acupuncturists design a specific treatment protocol for each cancer patient so they can get the most benefits and least side effects from radiation or chemo therapy.