November 13th, 2021

Breast cancer is the second most common cancer in women in the United States, luckily breast cancer also has one of the highest 5 year survival rates at 90%. We have a number of patients that are using acupuncture as a method for support throughout chemotherapy also as a resource for post-chemo and radiation.

This particular East to West Wellness Center patient came to us seeking help recovering from a lumpectomy and chemical burns that resulted from chemotherapy. A lumpectomy is an early stage intervention and surgical procedure that removes a small cancerous portion of the breast tissue and is sometimes referred to as ‘breast conserving’ because it is a local excision as opposed to the full removal that would take place with a mastectomy. This is a very effective treatment especially when paired with radiation to make sure there are fewer incidents of recurrence. After this patient. From receiving this procedure she was experiencing numbness, tingling and loss of sensation in her right arm- because of this her range of motion was also limited and used improperly creating pain and muscle tightness up to her neck. Before acupuncture this patient had been trying physical therapy but had limited success. This patient also had chemical burns that still had a burning sensation with occasional stabbing pains that had been persisting for several months.

At this patient’s fourth appointment the area of neuropathy had significantly diminished and there was only a very small localized spot where the numbness and tingling remained. Electrical stimulation was applied for the duration of her treatment in order to stimulate nerve regeneration to areas that had been damaged during the lumpectomy surgery. After the fifth treatment the chemical burn had improved topically and the burning and stabbing pains significantly decreased in intensity, the discoloration and skin damage visually diminished. The area around the chemical burn was surrounded with needles in order to stimulate the proliferation of wound healing enzymes, cell proliferation, and fresh blood to the area and decrease a pro-inflammatory response in order to help the burn heal faster. In less than a month with biweekly treatments this patient was able to see and feel significant results that even impressed her doctors at Memorial Sloan Kettering. 

-Anna Craddock, Student of Acupuncture

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