Acupuncture helps ease ailments associated with breast cancer

By Cam Tran
Published On: Oct 15 2013 04:20:00 PM HST

Headaches, hot flashes and insomnia: these are just some of the painful and debilitating side effects for some patients who undergo breast-cancer treatment. Now many Hawaii women are turning to the age old treatment of acupuncture to alleviate their ailments.

HONOLULU -

Headaches, hot flashes and insomnia are just some of the painful and debilitating side effects for some patients who undergo breast cancer treatment.

Now many women are turning to the age-old treatment of acupuncture to alleviate their ailments.

Click here to see Cam Tran's report.

"Usually I feel very relaxed after. I have a great sleep that night and I feel relaxed. And I often fall asleep during the treatment," said Sheri Kuha, a stage 3 breast cancer survivor.

For Kuha, acupuncture has been a huge relief. She underwent chemotherapy, a double mastectomy and radiation therapy drugs which caused painful side effects.

"I had swelling on my legs from Tamoxafin and I had different therapy and pain in my wrist so bad, I couldn't pick up a normal cup. I had to use two hands. I couldn't play guitar, which was very sad for me," Kuha said.

But after a few acupuncture treatments, Kuha said she's regained her strength, stamina and positive outlook.

"I don't know what I would have done without it," she said.

Thanks to a Susan G. Komen grant, acupuncturist Jayne Tsuchiyama provides 300 treatments to breast cancer patients who are uninsured or unemployed.

"Basically, what it is doing is helping your body to modulate its own healing," said Tsuchiyama. "There's nothing on the needle. A lot of times, people will ask me, 'Does the needle have anything on it?' but they are just stainless steel, individually packaged needles that we'll insert."

Tsuchiyama said there are very few adverse effects of acupuncture, just a slight pinch when she inserts the needle.

Tsuchiyama said the treatment alleviates a plethora of problems from hot flashes and skin rashes to insomnia. In many cases the patients feel the effects right away, she said.

"After the treatment, it is such a blessing," said Nellie Pasion-Callueng. "(It) helps my excruciating pain go away."

Tsuchiyama said acupuncture is growing in popularity for cancer treatment relief.

There is now a growing list of patients signing up for the procedure at the Queens Medical Center.

Click here for an application.

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