Needle warming moxibustion is effective for breast cancer related lymphedema

Objective: Although several acupuncture and moxibustion therapies have been tested in managing breast cancer-related lymphedema, there is little consensus regarding the best options for treating this condition. This systematic review and network meta-analysis compared the efficacy of various acupuncture and/or moxibustion therapies for breast cancer-related lymphedema.

Methods: Seven databases and two clinical registration centres were searched from their inception to December 1st, 2023. The Cochrane Collaboration risk-of-bias assessment tool evaluated the quality of included RCTs. A pairwise meta-analysis was performed in STATA 16.0, while a network meta-analysis was performed in R 4.2.2.

Results: 18 studies were included in this analysis. Our results showed that acupuncture and moxibustion methods had great advantages in improving breast cancer-related lymphedema of patients with breast cancer. In particular, needle-warming moxibustion could be the optimal acupuncture and moxibustion method for improving clinical effectiveness and reducing the degree of swelling of affected limbs.

Conclusion: Our findings suggest that needle-warming moxibustion has great potential in treating breast cancer-related lymphedema. It may reduce arm circumference, lower swelling levels, and improve clinical effectiveness. Nevertheless, more multi-centre, high-quality, and large sample RCTs will be needed in the future.

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About Attilio

Doctor of Chinese medicine, acupuncture expert and author of My Fertility Guide and My Pregnancy Guide.

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