JL210. Acupuncture for the Management of Hot Flashes in Breast Cancer Survivors
Hollis McClellan Misiewicz, DNP, CRNP, AOCN, Mercy Medical Center
In the United States more women are diagnosed with breast cancer than any other type of cancer. As survival for these women improve health care practitioners must address long-term problems secondary to cancer therapy. The development of severe hot flashes, a common sequelae of treatment, can significantly affect quality of life. Many popular hot flash treatments are ineffective or contraindicated for breast cancer survivors. Research supports the use of acupuncture as an effective, safe treatment for minimizing hot flashes in breast cancer survivors. Purpose/Design: The purpose of this evidence-based practice project was to determine if acupuncture is effective at decreasing the number and severity of hot flashes and improving sleep in breast cancer survivors. Twenty women were recruited for this study with a quasi-experimental pretest-posttest design utilizing the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index and hot flash diaries. No control group was used as the study was designed to determine an individual’s response to acupuncture therapy. Twenty participants were recruited for the study. Results: Paired t-test revealed significant improvement in night time hot flash frequency and severity, daytime hot flash severity, and sleep quality. Participants’ descriptions of acupuncture encompassed three themes; acupuncture as (1) effective, (2) relaxing, and (3) painful at times. Benefits/Limitations: The pretest-posttest design of the study allowed for evaluation of individual patients to determine the effectiveness of acupuncture for controlling hot flashes and improving sleep. Limitations of the study that threatened internal validity included the lack of a control group, self-selection of participants which could introduce bias, and the high attrition rate of 50%. Limitations that affected external validity included participants selected from a single site, small sample size, and the use of one acupuncturist. Conclusion: Acupuncture can be effective in reducing the severity and frequency of hot flashes in breast cancer survivors. Future research should address the use of acupuncture with cancer populations other than breast cancer survivors, such as women with gynecological cancers or men with prostate cancer. Research addressing the influence of socioeconomic status and educational level on the use of acupuncture could provide findings that would assist health care providers give patient-specific information and recommendations about acupuncture. Advanced oncology practitioners are in a unique position to address the long-term problems secondary to chemotherapy that cancer survivors face. Evidence-based recommendations for management of the sequelae of chemotherapy improve the quality of care provided to cancer survivors.
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