The American Cancer Society reports there will be more than 105,000 new cases of colon cancer and 42,000 new cases of rectal cancer diagnosed this year in the United States.
When the cancers become advanced, they bring on a host of side effects that make quality of life poor. Now, doctors hope acupuncture will help them live better and with less stress.
Clinical psychologists are looking to tiny acupuncture needles as a way to improve the quality of life for cancer patients. More than that, they're trying to understand why it works.
"I think we, in Western science, have some tools available to us that can help answer that question," say researchers.
Using cotton, study participants' saliva is tested for the stress hormone cortisol four times a day. Researchers says, "Their cortisol levels will actually start to decline because their overall stress will decline."
Study participants receive acupuncture three times a week for four weeks. Each session lasts about 45 minutes and is done at the patient's home. The current study is being performed only at the University of Pittsburgh, but a qualified acupuncture physician may be able to help relieve the symptoms, too.