Manchester

Cancer patient trial finds acupuncture lessens chemotherapy neuropathy

Malcolm Kavanagh receiving acupuncture
Image caption Acupuncture sees fine needles inserted at certain sites in the body to simulate nerves

Acupuncture can help cancer patients who suffer with neuropathy as a result of chemotherapy, a study has found.

A trial at Manchester's The Christie found 68% of patients getting the treatment, which sees needles inserted into the skin, reported that symptoms of the nerve condition had lessened.

One patient with the condition said he could "walk now without any trouble".

Professor Andrew Wardley said it was hoped the findings would "lead to a new standard of care".

The three-year study, funded by the National Institute for Health Research and the Manchester hospital's charity, involved 120 patients, half of whom were offered weekly hour-long acupuncture sessions over a 10-week period.

Image caption Malcolm Kavanagh suffered neuropathy after four years of chemotherapy

Sixty-eight-year-old Malcolm Kavanagh, who has had four years of chemotherapy to treat bone marrow cancer, said a constant burning sensation had made him feel like his feet "were on fire".

"Walking was terrible. I had no idea what I was stood on - if it was hard, soft, hot or cold."

He said after six acupuncture treatments, the feeling in his feet started to come back, adding: "I can walk now without any trouble - before it was very hard to walk anywhere."

Prof Wardley, consultant medical oncologist at The Christie, said he hoped the trial would "lead to a new standard of care for treating this condition, improving the lives of millions of patients".

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