Oncology groups share new guidelines on pain management

The Society for Integrative Oncology and the American Society of Clinical Oncology published joint guidelines for safely and effectively treating common cancer symptoms and side effects using integrative medicine approaches, SIO reported Sept. 19.

The integrative approaches are built off of existing ASCO guidelines focused on cancer pain. Integrative oncology is a patient-centered, evidence-informed field of cancer care that utilizes mind and body practices, natural products, and/or lifestyle modifications in conjunction with conventional treatment.

"Practice guidelines are a critical way to ensure healthcare providers use treatments that are based on quality evidence from scientific studies that have shown the treatment to be effective and safe," immediate past chair of the ASCO Evidence-Based Medicine Committee, Scott Tagawa, MD, said in the release. "The guidelines focus on important concerns in patient care that greatly impact quality of life and will help equip the oncology community with the essential knowledge needed to manage integrative therapy approaches."

Four guideline updates to know for adult patients:

  1. Acupuncture may be effective for aromatase inhibitor-related joint pain.
  2. Acupuncture or reflexology or acupressure may be effective for general cancer pain or musculoskeletal pain.
  3. Hypnosis may work for patients who experience procedural pain.
  4. Massage may help patients experiencing pain during palliative or hospice care.

There is insufficient or inconclusive evidence to make recommendations for pediatric patients.

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