Could yoga benefit breast cancer patients?

19th May 2011

Breast cancer sufferers who are undergoing radiotherapy may benefit from doing yoga, it has been claimed.

Research showed that yoga helped to reduce a lot of the side effects of radiotherapy, such as fatigue, and helped to improve their physical function.

People also had a more positive attitude to their cancer, and a steeper daily decline in levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which is linked to worse outcomes in breast cancer.

More than 160 women aged around 52 were tested during the trial. They attended hour-long sessions three times a week during a six-week course of radiotherapy.

Study leader Professor Lorenzo Cohen said: "The combination of mind and body practices that are part of yoga clearly have tremendous potential to help patients manage the psychosocial and physical distress associated with treatment and life after cancer, beyond the benefits of simple stretching."

Cancer research promotes the use of yoga for cancer sufferers as it can help to reduce feelings of stress, depression and anxiety. People have also claimed that it helps to reduce symptoms like pain and fatigue.

Posted by Edward Bartel

1. Cohen, Lorenzo et al. "Effect of yoga on QOL, cortisol rhythm, and HRV for women with breast cancer undergoing radiotherapy." American Society of Clinical Oncology. June 2011.

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