Yoga During Cancer Therapy Improves Quality of Life

Yoga works out fine - also along
chemotherapy and radiation
treatment; © Hemera

The study was conducted by Lorenzo Cohen, Ph.D., associate professor and director of the Integrative Medicine Program at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center.

"The main objective of this study was to examine the feasibility of integrating a daily yoga program into the treatment care plan for women with breast cancer undergoing radiation treatment, and determine if this is something the patients found useful and enjoyable, as well as assessing aspects of their quality of life," Cohen said.

Sixty-one women with breast cancer undergoing radiation were randomised 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 post-treatment. The patients ranged from Stage 0 to Stage 3 disease; 48 percent had undergone breast-conserving surgery, and 75 percent had received chemotherapy prior to radiation treatment. The yoga program was designed specifically for this patient population - emphasising breathing and relaxation.

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. "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."

MEDICA.de; Source: University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center