An important article published in Scientific Reports (by Nature), reviewed meta-analyzes and systematic reviews that analyzed the effectiveness of acupuncture as a palliative care for cancer based on 248 clinical studies involving 17,392 patients. The study examined the effectiveness of acupuncture in a number of parameters.
Results showed the following:
Acupuncture was significantly effective in (1) Improving cancer-related fatigue (2) Chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (3) Leukopenia (= decrease in white blood cells, the immune system).
Acupuncture was effective, however with mixed results in (1) Hot flashes (2) Hiccups (3) General quality of life (main reason being that it is measured differently across studies))
Insufficient evidence for the effectiveness of acupuncture in (1) Dry mouth (2) Dyspnea (3) Lymphedema.
No serious adverse effects were reported with acupuncture in any study. The authors conclude that based on this large database acupuncture may be considered for use as an effective and significant support for cancer of various types and especially for clinical problems for which Western medicine has little to offer.
Source: Wu X. et al. " Effectiveness of acupuncture and related therapies for palliative care of cancer: overview of systematic reviews" Scientific Reports 5, Article number: 16776 (2015) http://www.nature.com/articles/srep16776
This post is also available in: Hebrew