Mar 04, 2014 12:52 PM EST
Yoga Could Improve Quality Of Life For Women With Breast Cancer
Yoga may help combat pain, fatigue and depression among women battling breast cancer, according to a recent study Medical News Today reported.
Researchers found that yoga may ease some of the side effects of radiation therapy, one of the main treatments from cancer, by regulating stress hormones, improving quality of life beyond treatment, Medical News Today reported.
"The benefits of yoga are above and beyond stretching," Lorenzo Cohen, a professor of oncology at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and lead author of the study published Monday in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, told ABC News. "These findings may improve outcomes in cancer survivors."
For the study, researchers randomly assigned 191 women with breast cancer who were undergoing radiation therapy into one of three groups. One group did yoga, another did simple stretching exercises, and a third group did neither. The participants in the yoga and stretching groups attended sessions for one hour, three days a week throughout the six weeks of their radiation therapy.
Women in the yoga group reported a reduction in fatigue, whereas the women in the other two groups did not. They also reported better general health and functioning at 1,3, and 6 months after radiation treatment.
"Yoga is a very important intervention, and this was a high quality investigation," Barrie Cassileth, chief of the integrative medicine service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. "This study looked beyond the physical benefits of yoga by looking at the physiologic measure of stress: cortisol."
Cassileth was not involved with the study.
The research team is now in the process of a phase III trial of women with breast cancer, with the aim of understanding how yoga can improve physical function, biological outcomes and quality of life after radiation therapy.
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