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Cancer Centers Increasingly Employ Alternative Treatments

Alternative therapies such as acupuncture and massage have become more mainstream in many different disciplines, and that includes cancer treatment. A growing number of doctors are offering such therapies to cancer patients in addition to more conventional treatment such as radiation and chemotherapy, according to NBC Nightly News.

A recent study from the University of Pennsylvania found that as much as 70 percent of cancer centers offer alternative treatments, and experts say they are especially beneficial when it comes to helping patients manage side effects.

"Acupuncture does not cure cancer, but it is extremely helpful in a cancer setting because it can control multiple symptoms, some of which are not treatable with mainstream means," Dr. Barrie Cassileth, the head of integrative medicine service at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, told NBC.

While acupuncture is frequently employed to alleviate side effects of cancer treatment, the therapy has also shown promise in helping older adults manage pain associated with arthritis and other chronic conditions. In fact, a recent study of more than 17,900 people found acupuncture offered greater relief than no treatment at all.

Given the growing prevalence of alternative treatment in a clinical setting, the methods may soon make their way into home care, whether to treat cancer patients or seniors with chronic pain.

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