Acupuncture in the postoperative setting for breast cancer patients: A feasibility study

Molly J. Mallory, Katrina A. Croghan, Nicole P. Sandhu, Valerie Lemaine, Amy C. Degnim, Brent A. Bauer, Stephen S. Cha, Ivana T. Croghan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Acupuncture is used to treat a variety of symptoms and conditions associated with cancer and cancer treatments. The present study was performed to evaluate the feasibility of providing acupuncture in the hospital setting for breast cancer patients and to evaluate the short-term effect of acupuncture on stress, anxiety, and pain. This was an open label study conducted at Mayo Clinic Hospital, Methodist and Saint Marys Campus, Rochester, Minnesota. A total of 20 adult breast cancer patients undergoing mastectomy and/or breast reconstruction were recruited and offered daily acupuncture intervention beginning postoperative day 1 and continuing for the duration of the hospital stay. Outcome measures included the Symptom Visual Analog Scale (VAS) and Satisfaction Question and Was-it-Worth-it (WIWI) Questionnaire. It was found that acupuncture is a feasible option for postoperative breast cancer patients. In addition, it can significantly decrease the levels of anxiety (p = 0.0065), tension/muscular discomfort (p < 0.001) and pain (p = 0.023). The association between acupuncture and relaxation was found to be statistically borderline (p = 0.053). This feasibility study showed that acupuncture can be integrated into a busy postsurgical clinical practice. These results also suggest that acupuncture may be an important intervention in the postoperative setting for breast cancer patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)45-56
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Journal of Chinese Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 25 2015


  • Acupuncture
  • Breast Cancer
  • Breast Reconstruction
  • Feasibility
  • Mastectomy
  • Postsurgical
  • Quality of Life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Complementary and alternative medicine


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