Yoga found to be helpful in patients treated for breast cancer

A new study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology has found that practicing yoga regularly may help in reducing fatigue and inflammation in patients who have been treated for breast cancer. The study, which was led by Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, an investigator at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Care Center and the Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research in Columbus, has found that cancer survivors often suffer from chronic inflammation which, in turn, may affect the mood of the patients and lead to fatigue and other health disorders. Practicing yoga causes an increase in the body activity and decreases inflammation.

For studying the effect of yoga on the mood and fatigue, the researchers examined 200 breast cancer patients who had successfully completed their treatments at least two months prior to the start of the study. The women were randomly divided into two groups. While group one practiced yoga for 90 minutes two times a week for 12 weeks, group two was asked to avoid yoga. After 12 weeks, blood samples were taken to find any evidence of inflammation. The women were also asked to fill up questionnaires related to their mood, fatigue and vitality.

At the end of 12 weeks, it was observed that women who had taken yoga classes scored higher on the vitality parameter, though there was no significant difference between the two groups in respect of mood or fatigue. But after another three months, women who had taken yoga classes complained of much less fatigability compared to women who had not taken yoga classes. The indicators of inflammation in the blood samples were also found to be 13 % to 20% less in women who had taken yoga classes compared to the second group.

On the basis of the results obtained, the researchers have opined that yoga can be an excellent form of exercise for women who have survived breast cancer. How exactly does yoga affect inflammation is not yet known. But it is a good form of exercise as its intensity can be tailored according to the patient’s condition. It is advised that breast cancer survivors should opt for low to medium intensity yoga sessions to improve vitality and reduce fatigue.

Editor: Dr. Bimal Rajalingam MBBS DNB 

Reference: http://jco.ascopubs.org/content/early/2014/01/21/JCO.2013.51.8860

Date: 
Monday, February 24, 2014