Yoga and Breast Cancer: Boosting Quality of Life

Patients should start practicing yoga before beginning treatment

Everywhere you look today, women are sporting yoga pants. In addition to dressing comfortably and fashionably, women with breast cancer have good reason to put their yoga pants to practical use. A review of studies investigating yoga therapy added to standard breast cancer treatment, found that patients in the intervention groups experienced significant benefits.

In a systematic review, researchers investigated whether yoga therapy added to breast cancer treatment improved patients’ physical and psychosocial quality of life (QoL). The authors selected 38 articles from peer-reviewed publications and published their findings in Journal of Medical Radiation Sciences. They determined that patients in the yoga intervention groups experienced significant QoL benefits. The most common psychosocial improvements were anxiety, stress, depression, improved global QoL, and emotional and social functioning; the most reported physical benefits were sleep quality, lymphocyte apoptosis and salivary cortisol readings. Researchers concluded, “The literature supports the use of yoga therapy as a prophylactic intervention that can prevent persistent fatigue and preserve the long‐term QoL outcomes for patients.” Also, because pretreatment fatigue is strongly linked to persistent fatigue, the authors recommended that patients start yoga therapy before beginning treatment.

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