Ki Kyung Kwon

Acupuncture for treating a symptom cluster (pain, fatigue, sleep, neuropathy) for women with breast cancer: a feasibility study

More women with breast cancer are now living longer. However, many women continue to be burdened by multiple concurrent symptoms even after cancer modifying treatment. Acupuncture addresses syndromes (patterns of multiple symptoms) rather than single symptoms, and may contribute to the management of symptom clusters in women with breast cancer. This MRes study will therefore examine the feasibility of acupuncture for women with breast cancer, and investigate potential relationships between the symptom cluster (pain, fatigue, sleep, neuropathy) and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).

This single-centre, single-arm, prospective trial will recruit women diagnosed with breast cancer for six weeks of acupuncture. Feasibility of intervention will be assessed using the Acceptability Intervention Measure, Feasibility of Intervention Measure and Intervention Appropriate Measure. Edmonton Symptom Assessment Scale and Patient Reported Outcome Measure Information Scale-29 will be used to monitor symptom burden and quality of life. Sub-optimal Health Status Questionnaire-50 (TCM) will be used to standardise TCM diagnosis.

This study will help determine whether acupuncture is a feasible and acceptable management for this symptom cluster in women with breast cancer, draw relationships between this symptom cluster and established TCM syndromes, and provide foundation for more rigorous studies investigating the efficacy of acupuncture in the management of symptom clusters in women with breast cancer.


Dr Suzanne Grant, Dr Judith Lacey