Yoga Helpful DuringTreatment for Breast Cancer
Breast cancer patients who participate in a yoga program during
treatment have improved quality of life, compared to patients who do
Researchers at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center,
were one of the first to incorporate yoga as part of a treatment plan
for cancer patients.
"Cancer and its treatments are associated with considerable
distress, impaired quality of life and reduced physical function. This
is particularly true for women with breast cancer who receive
multi-modality treatment over an extended period of time," Lorenzo
Cohen, Ph.D., associate professor, says.
Sixty-one women with breast
cancer undergoing radiation were randomized to participate in the yoga
classes twice weekly at, or around, the time of their radiation
appointments, or, as the control group, to be offered yoga
The yoga program was designed specifically for this patient
population - emphasizing breathing and relaxation, and excluding some
positions, for example, that would be difficult, given the patients'
possible weakened range of motion.
After just one week of yoga and radiation, the patients reported
significantly increased physical function, as well as general health,
compared to the control group. The study participants also reported
marginally better social functioning, significantly lower levels of
sleep-related daytime dysfunction, as well as marginally lower levels
of fatigue overall. However, no differences in the level of depression
or anxiety were found between the two groups.
"It was gratifying to see that we could make a clinically
significant difference in these quality of life of these women in such
a brief program," says Kavita Chandwani, M.D., yoga instructor and
co-investigator responsible for overseeing the trial.
"Whether it's yoga or some other type of mind-body program, we
believe this study shows how beneficial it is to participate throughout
treatment to help with quality of life-based issues."