- Question from Alton: Are there any studies either in process or already completed that assess the benefits of yoga as part of a weekly/daily fitness program on breast cancer side effects from chemo or radiation or of recurrence? I know that exercise is a very positive factor, and wonder if yoga is in "the mix" for research yet? Thanks!
At M.D. Anderson we have a very active treatment program looking at the benefits of yoga for people with cancer. Our first study examined the benefits of a form of yoga from the Tibetan tradition for patients with lymphoma, and the main finding was an improvement in patients' sleep quality. We conducted a follow-up study for women with breast cancer who were undergoing active treatment or in the first year after treatment, and we found the yoga group compared with the control group had a reduction in intrusive thought, the unbidden, unwanted thoughts of cancer that intrude on our lives, and a reduction in cancer-related symptoms. We conducted a subsequent Hatha yoga study (yoga from the Indian tradition) for women undergoing radiation treatment, and found that by the end of radiation the women who had been doing yoga throughout treatment had a better quality of life than did the women who had not participated in yoga.
There is also research to suggest that for women who are feeling fatigued after treatment has ended, a program of yoga can be very helpful to alleviate symptoms. What is unique about yoga and other movement-based mind/body therapies is that they incorporate a calming, centering aspect of meditation at the same time as allowing the person to be physically active. Both of these together can be quite useful to help in the recovery and healing process.
Editor's Note: See Research News on the benefits of yoga and other complementary techniques.
On Wednesday, March 21, 2007, our Ask-the-Expert Online Conference was called Complementary Medicine Techniques. Lorenzo Cohen, Ph.D. and moderator Beth Baughman DuPree, M.D., F.A.C.S. answered your questions about different types of complementary techniques and how they can help during and after breast cancer treatment.
The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.
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