Table of Contents Author Guidelines Submit a Manuscript
Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2013, Article ID 437948, 17 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/437948
Review Article

Herbal Medicine and Acupuncture for Breast Cancer Palliative Care and Adjuvant Therapy

1Tri-Service General Hospital, National Defense Medical Center, Taipei 114, Taiwan
2Agricultural Biotechnology Research Center, Academia Sinica, No. 128, Section 2, Academia Road, Nankang, Taipei 115, Taiwan
3Graduate Institute of Pharmacognosy, Taipei Medical University, Taipei 110, Taiwan

Received 21 March 2013; Revised 14 May 2013; Accepted 21 May 2013

Academic Editor: Yoshiharu Motoo

Copyright © 2013 Guo-Shiou Liao et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Breast cancer is a life-threatening disease among women worldwide with annual rates of reported incidence and death increasing alarmingly. Chemotherapy is a recommended and effective treatment option for breast cancer; however, the narrow therapeutic indices and varied side effects of currently approved drugs present major hurdles in increasing its effectiveness. An increasing number of literature evidence indicate that complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) used in treatment-related symptom control and alleviation of side effects plays an important role in increasing survival rate and quality of life in breast cancer patients. This review focuses on the use of herbal medicines and acupuncture in palliative care and as adjuvants in the treatment of breast cancer. Herbal medicinal treatments, the correlation of clinical use with demonstrated in vitro and in vivo mechanisms of action, and the use of certain acupoints in acupuncture are summarized. The aim of this review is to facilitate an understanding of the current practice and usefulness of herbal medicine and acupuncture as adjuvants in breast cancer therapy.