This research project is in progress. PCORI will post the research findings on this page within 90 days after the results are final.
What is the research about?
Children receiving cancer treatment or undergoing stem cell transplant often have side effects such as nausea, vomiting, pain, fatigue, and distress. These side effects can decrease children’s quality of life and delay their treatment. Taking medicine to reduce side effects can help, but it can also cause more side effects.
Acupressure is a type of therapy that uses the fingers or thumbs to apply pressure to certain points on the body. Research shows that acupressure may be a safe, effective way to reduce cancer treatment side effects among adults without adding other side effects.
In this study, the research team wants to learn if acupressure can ease treatment side effects in children receiving cancer treatment or stem cell transplant. The team also wants to know teaching caregivers how to give their children acupressure improves caregivers’ distress.
Who can this research help?
Results may help doctors, patients, and caregivers looking for ways to manage side effects during treatment for cancer in children.
What is the research team doing?
The research team is enrolling 85 children ages 5 to 24 receiving cancer treatment or stem cell transplant at a hospital in California. The team is assigning children by chance to receive supportive care plus acupressure, or supportive care alone. Children in the acupressure group receive medicine to treat side effects. They also receive acupressure up to 5 days a week for about 30 days, until they have received about 20 treatments. A trained therapist provides the acupressure treatments, which last about 20 minutes. Therapists train caregivers to apply acupressure to the child when needed. Training also includes a handout with pictures of pressure points and access to a website with instructive videos.
In the supportive care group, children receive medicine to treat side effects. After the study ends, caregivers receive training on how to provide acupressure to their child.
The research team is surveying children and caregivers at the start of the study, throughout treatment, and a month after treatment ends. Children’s surveys ask about nausea, vomiting, pain, fatigue, anxiety, depression, and other treatment-related side effects. Caregiver surveys ask about their depression, anxiety, posttraumatic stress, and ability to cope. The team is comparing survey findings between the acupressure and supportive care groups.
Childhood cancer survivors, parents of survivors, cancer doctors, nurses, and hospital directors are contributing throughout the course of this study.
Research methods at a glance
Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Training and Education Interventions