Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Yoga Helps Cancer Patients:-

Yoga Helps Cancer Patients:-

A new study published in the April 2007 issue of Cancer, a medical journal targeted to doctors who treat cancer patients, reports that a gentle form of yoga helps those with lymphoma sleep better. Lymphoma is a cancer that arises in the cells of the immune system. The investigators found that among 39 patients being treated for lymphoma, those who participated in only seven weekly sessions of yoga said they got to sleep sooner, slept for longer, and needed fewer drugs to fall asleep. Study author Dr. Lorenzo Cohen, of the M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, explained that living with cancer can be a very stressful experience, as patients cope with a diagnosis of a life-threatening illness and the side effects of treatment. As is well known, stress can often interfere with patients' sleep habits. Over the years, studies have linked yoga to a number of health benefits, including lowering blood pressure, beating fatigue and easing chronic pain. In the current report, Cohen and his team asked half of the patients to participate in seven weekly sessions of yoga and the results were compared to other patients with lymphoma who did not participate in the yoga program. Some studies have suggested that up to three quarters of cancer patients struggle with sleep. This may have important health consequences since sleep disturbances have been linked with problems with the immune system, and an increased risk of illness or death. Individuals with cancer should be cautioned that while undergoing or recovering from treatment one should adopt a gentle routine, and avoid excessively strenuous routines. This is particularly true for cancer patients who have metastases to the bones which would make the skeletal system more prone to fractures. There is good reason to expect that a gentle form of yoga would be beneficial to not only patients with lymphoma, but those suffering from other types of cancer.


Yoga is good for Breast Cancer Patients

According to a recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology (and as reported here by Reuters), attending specially designed hatha yoga classes was shown to improve the stress levels and sense of well-being of breast cancer patients. It's good to see yoga's benefits validated by the health-care establishment because it encourages people who might never have considered doing yoga to try it.

Yoga and breast cancer:-
Women with breast cancer that has spread beyond the breast may benefit from participating in a tailored yoga program that includes gentle yoga postures, breathing exercises, and meditation. The benefits of yoga could include less pain and fatigue, and more vigor, relaxation, and acceptance.

Women with breast cancer and who engage in yoga have improvements in social functioning. Yoga appears to enhance emotional well-being and mood and may serve to buffer deterioration in quality of life. There are natural supplements that have been studied in prevention or treatment of breast cancer.

Yoga can improve wellbeing in women with breast cancer:-

Yoga classes can improve the quality of life and well being of women with breast cancer patients -- particularly those who are not taking chemotherapy. Dr. Alyson B. Moadel of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New York, wanted to find out whether yoga could help breast cancer patients and survivors feel better. Her team randomly assigned 128 women to a 12-week yoga intervention or a wait list "control" group. Yoga classes were offered three times a week, and participants were urged to attend at least one class a week, and also instructed to do the exercises at home with the help of an audiotape. The Hatha yoga based exercises had been developed especially for breast cancer patients by one of the study's authors, and were done while participants were either sitting in a chair or lying down. During the course of the study, patients in the control group showed greater declines in well being than breast cancer women in the yoga group. When the researchers omitted patients undergoing chemotherapy from their analysis, they found that the women who did yoga showed improvements in quality of life; greater emotional, social and spiritual well being; and less distress. This yoga breast cancer research paper was done by Dr. Alyson B. Moadel and published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, October 1, 2007.


Yoga breast cancer help :-

In breast cancer survivors, the Iyengar method of yoga not only promotes psychological well-being, but seems to offer immune system benefits as well. The Iyengar method, created by B. K. S. Iyengar, is considered to be one of the more active forms of yoga. Pamela E. Schultz from Washington State University, Spokane randomly assigned 10 breast cancer survivors to 8 weeks of Iyengar yoga (2 classes and 1 solo session at home per week) and 9 to a wait-list control group. The women had an average age of 61 years, were about 4 years out from initial breast cancer diagnosis and were being treated with hormone therapy. None of the women had any prior experience with Iyengar yoga. Psychosocial tests showed that the "demands of illness," which reflects the burden of hardship of being a breast cancer survivor, fell in the yoga participants. These improvements correlated with decreased activation of an important immune system protein called NF-kB, which is a marker of stress in the body. Diet advice is also helpful.



Participating in Yoga During Treatment for Breast Cancer Improves Quality of Life


In an ongoing effort to scientifically validate the age-old belief that mind-body interventions have a beneficial impact on the health of cancer patients, researchers at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center have shown that breast cancer patients who participate in a yoga program during treatment have improved quality of life, compared to patients who do not.

The study, presented today at the 42nd annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology by Lorenzo Cohen, Ph.D., associate professor and director of the Integrative Medicine Program at M. D. Anderson, is one of the first to incorporate yoga as part of a treatment plan for cancer patients. It's also the first collaborative research effort representing the partnership between M. D. Anderson and India's largest yoga research institution, Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana (research foundation) in Bangalore, India.

"Cancer and its treatments are associated with considerable distress, impaired quality of life and reduced physical function. This is particularly true for women with breast cancer who receive multi-modality treatment over an extended period of time," Cohen says. "With our studies, we think that we could help ameliorate the treatment-related side effects that accumulate in cancer patients over time.

"The main objective of this study was to examine the feasibility of integrating a daily yoga program into the treatment care plan for women with breast cancer undergoing radiation treatment, and determine if this is something the patients found useful and enjoyable, as well as assessing aspects of their quality of life," he continued.

Sixty-one women with breast cancer undergoing radiation were randomized to participate in the yoga classes twice weekly at, or around, the time of their radiation appointments, or, as the control group, to be offered yoga post-treatment. The patients ranged from Stage 0 to Stage 3 disease; 48 percent had undergone breast-conserving surgery, and 75 percent had received chemotherapy prior to radiation treatment. The yoga program was designed specifically for this patient population - emphasizing breathing and relaxation, and excluding some positions, for example, that would be difficult, given the patients' possible weakened range of motion.

After just one week of yoga and radiation, the patients reported significantly increased physical function, as well as general health, compared to the control group. The study participants also reported marginally better social functioning, significantly lower levels of sleep-related daytime dysfunction, as well as marginally lower levels of fatigue overall. However, no differences in the level of depression or anxiety were found between the two groups.

"It was gratifying to see that we could make a clinically significant difference in these quality of life of these women in such a brief program," says Kavita Chandwani, M.D., yoga instructor and co-investigator responsible for overseeing the trial. "Whether it's yoga or some other type of mind-body program, we believe this study shows how beneficial it is to participate throughout treatment to help with quality of life-based issues."

As a result of these positive findings, a follow-up study, funded by the National Cancer Institute, in breast cancer patients receiving radiation comparing yoga to stretching exercises and standard care is ongoing at M. D. Anderson. Also, from the ASCO highlighted study, Cohen and his team plan to analyze the cortisol levels, a stress hormone collected from saliva samples, and immune function measured from blood samples that were both collected as part of the study.

M. D. Anderson recognizes the growing body of research indicating that relaxation-based interventions can contribute to the well-being of people with cancer. Through the Integrative Medicine Program, complementary therapies are offered through M. D. Anderson's freestanding facility, Place ... of Wellness, and are used in concert with mainstream care to manage symptoms, relieve stress, and enhance quality of life for patients and their caregivers. M. D. Anderson's Integrative Medicine faculty also conduct research in the biological and behavioral effects of mind/body based interventions; the anti-cancer potential of natural compounds; and acupuncture to treat common cancer treatment-related side effects.

Recently, Cohen and his team received a $2.4 million grant from the National Cancer Institute to study the effects of Tibetan yoga in women with breast cancer who are undergoing chemotherapy; the grant is the largest ever to study Tibetan yoga in cancer patients.

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