Treatment-related symptoms and acupuncture efficacy in breast cancer patients

Yu-Yin Su Allemann, University of Basel

Early detection and advances in treatment have considerably increased the probability of survival. However, patients who receive advanced treatments also experience short and long term side effects. Approximately 75% of breast cancer patients experience cancer related cognitive impairment (CRCI) prior to, during, or after treatment. CRCI remains a significant long-term problem for about 35% of cancer survivors. CRCI may interfere with patients’ self-care activities, such as ability to adhere to treatment, manage side effects, and re-integrate into the workforce, which can have a negative impact on their quality of life. Current studies provide conflicting evidence about subgroups of breast cancer patient who might be at higher risk for experiencing CRCI. Little is known about the contribution of genetic variations in the catecholaminergic and serotonergic pathways in the development and severity of CRCI. Finally, non-pharmacological interventions, such as acupuncture are being recommended for the management of hot-flashes and pain associated with a cancer diagnosis and treatment, but there is little evidence that acupuncture can contribute to the management of CRCI. The specific aims of my study are to:

  1. Identify subgroups of breast cancer patients who are at higher risk for CRCI (accounting for demographic characteristics and clinical predictors)
  2. Explore associations between catecholaminergic and serotonergic genes with CRCI subgroup membership
  3. Evaluate the efficacy of acupuncture to reduce CRCI

Keywords: breast cancer, cancer-related cognitive impairment (CRCI)

Short Biography

Yu-Yin is a registered nurse in both Taiwan and the US. She holds a MA degree in Nursing Science from University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). Yu-Yin is currently a PhD candidate at University of Basel. Her research is focus on longitudinal changes in cancer-related cognitive impairment and acupuncture efficacy in breast cancer patients.

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