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Last Updated: 06/15/16
NIH-NCI/OCCAM Conferences 2016

Acupuncture For Cancer Symptom Management

June 16-17, 2016

Meeting Chairs: Farah Zia, MD
Oluwadamilola Olaku, MD, MPH, MRCOG


The Acupuncture for Cancer Symptom Management Conference is a seminal meeting that builds on two previous events.

In November 1997 The NIH office of Disease Prevention conducted a Consensus Development Conference focusing on acupuncture. The objective of the conference was to provide health care providers, patients, and the general public with a responsible assessment of the use and effectiveness of acupuncture for a variety of conditions.

Some of the conclusions of the conference stated that acupuncture as a therapeutic intervention is widely practiced in the United States. While there have been many studies of its potential usefulness, the results have been equivocal, due to design, sample size, and other factors. The issues are further complicated by inherent difficulties in the use of appropriate controls, such as placebos and sham acupuncture groups. However, some promising results have emerged from the many clinical trials. For example, efficacy of acupuncture has been demonstrated in the adult postoperative patient, chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting, and in postoperative dental pain.

In November 2007, the Society for Acupuncture Research (SAR) hosted an international conference to mark the tenth anniversary of the landmark NIH Consensus Development Conference on Acupuncture. More than 300 acupuncture researchers, practitioners, students, funding agency personnel and health policy analysts from 20 countries attended. The SAR meeting was held at the University Of Maryland School Of Medicine, Baltimore, MD. The implicit goal of the conference was to foster closer ties among investigators active in this expanding field of research.

In building on the foundation laid by the 1997 Consensus Development Conference and the 2007 SAR conference, the objectives of NCI OCCAM’s 2016 Acupuncture for Cancer Symptom Management Conference are:

  1. To determine the current evidence of acupuncture in the management of cancer patients
  2. To determine the symptom(s) with the best evidence of response to acupuncture treatment
  3. To determine the cost effectiveness of acupuncture treatment in the management of cancer patients

We aim to assess the current state of the science of acupuncture for cancer symptom management, determine the current gaps in research, and discuss ways to move research forward on a strong scientific foundation.

View the workshop agenda

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