Receiving or not receiving acupuncture in a trial: The experience of participants recovering from breast cancer treatment

Mackereth Peter, Bardy Joy, Filshie Jacqueline, Finnegan John Jennifer, Molassiotis Alexander

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To explore the experience of breast cancer patients who either received acupuncture or were allocated to the control group. Methods: Focus group/interviews nested within our multi-site randomised controlled trial. Participants were recruited from the standard care and experimental arm. The interviews/focus groups were transcribed and analysed thematically. Results: Of the 302 eligible participants 13% (n=40) contributed to the focus groups/interviews, across three study sites in the UK. Five common themes were identified, including: drivers to take part, the experience of receiving acupuncture, being allocated standard care (control) and reflections on taking part in the trial. The subgroup of control group participants (n=9) reported disappointment on hearing their allocation, but recognised the value of their role to the study. Conclusions: Recipients of acupuncture reported beneficial effects in managing fatigue and related symptoms. The finding that control participants were disappointed warrants further investigation and consideration when designing interventional studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)291-296
Number of pages6
JournalComplementary Therapies in Clinical Practice
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Acupuncture
  • Cancer
  • Clinical trial
  • Control group
  • Fatigue

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Complementary and alternative medicine

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