Hot flashes and night sweats are common symptoms for women taking tamoxifen following breast cancer. This study investigates the possibility of traditional Chinese acupuncture being used to help manage these symptoms and thus improve quality of life.


Fifty participants with early breast cancer completed a course of eight weekly acupuncture treatments. All of the women were 35+ years old, over six months post-active cancer treatment, had been taking tamoxifen for over six months, and had four or more incidents of hot flashes and night sweats every 24 hours for last three months or more.

The outcome was measured using ‘hot flash diaries’, Women’s Health Questionnaire, and Hot flashes and Night Sweats Questionnaire. Measurements were taken at five points within a 30-week time scale.

Results and Conclusion

The mean frequency of hot flashes and night sweats was reduced by 49.8% at the end of treatment.

The perception of hot flashes and night sweats was reduced by 2.2 points. This indicated that the participants subjectively found their symptoms less bothersome following acupuncture treatment.

There were also significant improvements in other symptoms such as anxiety/ fear, memory/ concentration, menstrual problems, sexual behavior, and sleep problems.

The study concluded that the results compared favorably with previous studies that looked at acupuncture for the management of hot flashes and night sweats, as well as research on non-hormonal pharmaceutical treatments. In addition, there were other significant improvements in general well-being.

Ref: Using traditional acupuncture for breast cancer-related hot flashes and night sweats. J Altern Complement Med. 2010 Oct;16(10):1047-57

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