Warm Needle Therapy for the Treatment of Post Cervical Cancer Radical
Surgery Bladder Numbness
Keywords: Chinese medicine, acupuncture,
warm needle, post cervical cancer radical surgery bladder numbness
Radical hysterectomy for cervical cancer patients can damage the
nerves associated with the bladder. Therefore, post-operative bladder
numbness and urinary retention is not uncommon in these women. Xie
Ying published an article titled, "A Clinical Audit of the Treatment
of 136 Cases of Post Cervical Cancer Radical Surgery Bladder Numbness
with Warm Needle Moxibustion," in issue #4, 2002 of Zhong Yi
Za Zhi (Journal of Chinese Medicine) on page 267. A prècis of
this article appears below.
Cohort description: One hundred thirty-six women with post-operative cervical
cancer bladder numbness were divided into three groups. The treatment group
was comprised of 49 women aged 24-69 years with an average age of 31.51 years.
Twenty-five of the women had stage Ia cervical cancer, 16 had IIa, and eight
had IIb stage cervical cancer. The acupuncture comparison group was comprised
of 46 women, 25-66 years of age, with an average age of 34.46 years. Twenty-six
of these women had stage Ia cervical cancer, 14 had Ib, and six had IIb. The
other 41 women were assigned to the corpus vesicae procedure comparison group.
This group was 23-68 years of age, with an average age of 32 years. Twenty-five
of these women had stage Ia cervical cancer, 10 had IIa, and six had Iib. Therefore,
there was no significant statistical differences between these three groups
in terms of age or stage of disease.
Treatment method: The members of the treatment group were first needled at
Guan Yuan (CV 4), Zhong Ji (CV 3), and Qi Hai (CV 6) with heads of the needles
pointing to the perineum and then manipulated until a numb, distended feeling
was propagated to that area. Then Zu San Li (St 36), San Yin Jiao (Sp 6), and
Yin Ling Quan (Sp 9) were needled with supplementing hand technique. All these
needles were retained for 30 minutes. During this time, two 2cm sections of
moxa rolls were burned on each of the handles of these needles. This treatment
was done once per day.
The members of the acupuncture comparison group were needled at the same points
but no moxibustion was burned. The needles were retained for 30 minutes each
time, once per day.
The members of the corpus vesica procedure comparison group were urged to empty
their bladders. Then an intravenous drip of 300-500ml of saline solution was
administered. When the patient felt like her bladder was full, it was emptied
by a catheter and another 500ml of saline solution was administered by intravenous
drip. Again she emptied her bladder by catheter. This was done two times per
All three groups were treated for one week after which treatment outcomes were
Treatment outcomes: Cure was defined as the ability to void the bladder by
onself with less than 50ml residual urine. Improvement was defined as ability
to void the urine on one's own but residual urine equal to or more than
50ml. No effect meant that one was still not able to empty one's bladder
by herself and/or there was residual urine equal to or more than 100ml. Based
on these criteria, 36 women in the treatment group were judged cured, 10 were
improved, and three got no effect, for a total amelioration rate of 93.88%.
In the acupuncture comparison group, 20 women were cured, 17 improved, and
nine got no effect, for a total amelioration rate of 80.43%. In the corpus
vesicae procedure comparison group, 13 women were cured, 12 improved, and 16
got no effect, for a total amelioration rate of only 60.98%. In the treatment
group, the smallest number of treatment before seeing an effect was one and
the greatest was seven, with an average of three treatments. Hence the warm
needle treatment was markedly more effective than either acupuncture alone
or the corpus vesicae procedure.
Translator's comments: While this article does
not discuss a treatment specifically for cancer, in many states acupuncturists
are not, strictly speaking,
legally allowed to treat cancer. Acupuncturists in every state can, however,
treat nausea, falling hair, fatigue, bladder numbness, or other common side
effects of standard Western medical cancer treatments. Therefore, I chose this
article to illustrate the efficacy of using acumoxa therapy to treat such side