Monday, 24 March 2014

Yoga May Help Breast Cancer Patients



A new study reveals that women with breast cancer who practiced yoga had lower levels of stress hormones and also reported less fatigue and a better quality of life.

The study was published on March 3rd in the online edition of the Journal of Clinical Oncology

Study co-author Lorenzo Cohen, director of the integrative medicine program at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, in Houston stated, "Yoga is having an impact on subjective well-being, as well as better regulation of cortisol, a stress hormone.  Better regulation of stress hormones has been linked with better survival and longer survival."

This is the first study to compare a yoga group to a control group and the largest study so far.  It supports the data from previous smaller studies.  160 women who were in therapy with breast cancer were assigned to either do yoga or stretching three times a week for an hour each session.  These two groups were compared to a control group that did not receive such instructions.

The women in the study reported on such factors as quality of life, depression, and ability to function daily. Saliva samples were taken at intervals so that cortisol levels could be measured.

Another takeaway from the study is that recommending exercise to a patient who is already fatigued may sound counter-intuitive, but is in fact beneficial.

Dr. Joanne Mortimer, director of women's cancer programs and co-director of the breast cancer program at City of Hope Cancer Center in Duarte, California adds, "This study supports that the more you do, the better off you are."

Source: Journal of Clinical Oncology 
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