Breakthrough Breast Cancer has called for more research into complementary therapies, as the charity claims more than 60 per cent of breast cancer patients use them alongside their conventional cancer treatment.
The charity recently launched the largest ever clinical trial into the use of acupuncture during breast cancer treatment, as it is believed the therapy may ease fatigue.
Breast cancer is now the most common cancer in the UK, excluding non-melanoma skin cancer, and many patients suffer from severe fatigue during treatment
Julie Flynn, the charity's senior research development officer, explained: "Complementary therapies for cancer are used to try and ease the symptoms of the disease and the side-effects of conventional treatment, and they include therapies such as relaxation techniques, massage [and] acupuncture.
"They're not given with the aim of curing the disease but some have a positive effect on patients' wellbeing."
Ms Flynn revealed that acupuncture has been suggested to alleviate certain types of pain and chemotherapy-induced nausea, but the charity is particularly interested in whether it can be effective in reducing levels of fatigue, which is commonly experienced by cancer patients.
"At Breakthrough we believe it's really important that complementary therapies are researched in this way because many patients choose to use them alongside their conventional treatments, but there's not much known about their effects," she explained.
"And obviously with so many patients using them it's vital there's more research in this area," she concluded.