Acupuncture for Chronic Lymphedema After Breast Cancer Treatment

Full Title

Acupuncture for Chronic Lymphedema: A Randomized Wait-list Controlled Trial


Lymphedema is a condition in which excess fluid accumulates in a part of the body, typically in an arm or leg. Lymphedema in an arm is a potential side effect of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy for breast cancer. It can affect people in different ways, and may impair quality of life by causing discomfort.

Research has shown that some patients with lymphedema experience relief of their symptoms with acupuncture. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the use of acupuncture in larger groups of women with lymphedema in an arm resulting from breast cancer treatment.

Patients will be randomly assigned to one of two groups: One group will have six weeks of acupuncture at the beginning of the study. The second group will be placed on a waiting list for the first six weeks of the study, and then have six weeks of acupuncture after that. Investigators will compare the two groups to assess the potential benefits of acupuncture and how long they last.


This study is open to women (age 18 and older) who have lymphedema of an arm following breast cancer treatment. Lymphedema symptoms must have lasted for at least six months, but no more than five years.

For more information about this study, please contact Research Study Assistant Benjamin Search at 646-888-0810.