Prostate cancer – how can ear acupuncture help?
About 47,500 men in the UK are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year. Thats 129 per day! One way that the cancer can be treated or controlled is by hormone therapy.
More on hormone therapy
Prostate Cancer UK explain “Prostate cancer cells usually need testosterone to grow. Testosterone controls how the prostate
grows and develops. Testosterone doesn’t usually cause problems but, if you have prostate cancer, it can make the cancer cells grow faster. If testosterone is taken away or blocked, the cancer will usually shrink, wherever it is in the body.” For more information click here
Hormone therapy aims to stop the production of testosterone or stop the testosterone form reaching the cancer cells. The therapy can be very effective but it does have side effects which some men find unpleasant. Such things as extreme fatigue, weight gain, hot flushes, breast swelling, loss of libido and mood swings are a few of the side effects. Some men struggle with the impact that these side effects have on their lives. The good news is that for many men, ear acupuncture can help.
What does ear acupuncture do?
Ear acupuncture is a variant of Chinese Traditional Medicine (TCM). It works on the same principles as traditional acupuncture. The belief is that we have energy channels that run through our bodies. The energy in these channels is vital for life but it can become depleted or blocked as a result of stress, ill health or injury. An acupuncturist trained in TCM can access the energy at certain points and influence the flow to rebuild balance and promote healing.
The good news is that ear acupuncture is, quick, pain free, has no side effects and has been clinically proven to effectively manage the side effects of the hormone therapy used to treat prostate cancer.
What happens in the ear acupuncture group?
Here at Phoenix Health and Wellbeing we run 3 ear acupuncture clinics each week for men with prostate cancer who are or have been treated with hormone therapy.
At each clinic our fully qualified TCM acupuncturist puts very fine hair like needles into certain points on the ear. These points are designed to promote balance. We have found from feedback from men attending the groups, that the treatment can really help to reduce the hot flushes experienced and can promote a good nights sleep as well as helping with other side effects.
In addition, the men who attend find it very useful to be able to talk to others who are in the same situation. They come along and while the acupuncture pins are doing their job they enjoy a cup of tea, coffee, biscuits and a chat.
Chris comes along each week to our ear acupuncture clinic. Here is his story in his own words.
“I’ve been having acupuncture for 5 years now. I started a couple of years into my hormone injections for prostate cancer which give you hot flushes. I’m quite open minded so I thought ‘yeah I’ll give it a go, why not?’ At that point I was really suffering with the hot flushes. I thought I would try and be scientific about it and I counted how many flushes I was having per day before I started the acupuncture.
I was averaging about 20 a day, then more at night and awake at least several times a night with flushes. It was more like 30 a day really. After the first session of acupuncture I didn’t have single flush for two days. They came back gradually during the course the week and then I had another acupuncture session with similar results. I have been receiving acupuncture treatment ever since and although I still get hot flushes, I don’t get anywhere near as many as I used too and there severity is reduced.
I know that the flushes haven’t just deteriorated naturally because if I miss an acupuncture session I can really tell the difference. It doesn’t work for everybody. Some people when they have acupuncture for flushes, come for five or six weeks and that fixes it. Others, it doesn’t seem to work at all for. Then there is a middle group, which I’m in, where the flushes are reduced in intensity and frequency so long as I have the acupuncture.
I like coming to Phoenix because there is a camaraderie between all the people that come. I’ve known some of them now for four or five years. It’s good to build up new friendships with people from all cross-sections of life and we all have this common bond that we have prostate cancer. It helps to be able to discuss your symptoms or changes in treatment with others in the group because the chances are that somebody else in the group has already experienced that kind of change during their course of treatment.”
- Some men who have prostate cancer are treated with female hormones which can cause unpleasant side effects
- Ear acupuncture (sometimes called auricular acupuncture) can help to control these side effects. It has been clinically proven to work.
- The NHS can offer some sessions to some men, but many men are not supported and so have to pay for a private acupuncture session to have this treatment. If they can’t afford it, they can’t access it.
- Awards for All have recognised the value of our weekly clinics and decided to give it maximum grant funding of £10,000
- We will be able to continue this service and direct the support at men who have this disease and have low incomes so cannot access acupuncture due to cost.
Spread the word
If you know someone who has prostate cancer and is being treated with hormone therapy or has been treated with hormone therapy then please tell them about our clinics. We maybe able to help.
Phoenix Health & Wellbeing is a Charity. By coming to us for a treatment you are helping others less fortunate than yourself. We use the proceeds of your treatment to subsidise those who would not otherwise be able to access our therapies. Roughly £4 to every £10 spent with us will go to help others. To find out more click here
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Friday and Saturday from 11:00 to 16:00
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