For patients undergoing radiation treatment for cancer, particularly those cancers in the head and neck region, xerostomia is a common side effect.
Xerostomia is a condition wherein the mouth becomes severely dry due to an impaired production of saliva. Xerostomia can also lead to pain, impaired speaking, sleep disturbances, difficulty chewing and eating food, and increases risks for infection. For patients suffering with this condition, up until now, they have had very few options for relief.
However, recently a team of scientists from University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and Fudan University Shanghai Cancer Center showed that the use of acupuncture in conjunction with radiation treatment greatly reduces the debilitating effects of xerostomia for patients with cancer located at the neck or head part.
This type of integrative research is exactly where medicine needs to go. When we combine our skills we bring the best we can to our patients. Bravo to these scientists.
To read more about this study, check out this article.