Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Yoga Helps Cancer Survivors

Patients who carry a diagnosis of Cancer can be heartened by the results of a study that will be presented June 5 at the upcoming American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting.  The researchers found that the practice of Yoga helped cancer survivors improve sleep quality and reduce fatigue.

The lead researcher, Dr. Karen Mustian, professor of radiation oncology and community and preventive medicine at the University of Rochester in New York,  followed 410 patients who had already completed treatment for cancer but who experienced sleep disturbance that required medication.  Seventy-five percent of the patients had a diagnosis of breast cancer and none had sleep apnea.  The patients who started a yoga program (75minutes twice a week), were able to decrease their use of sleep medication by 21% after just four weeks,  compared with the control group who did not do yoga.  The yoga patients also experienced less fatigue and a reduction in daytime sleepiness.

It seems like a simple thing, but improving quality of life by using complementary medicine is a very important treatment.  There are millions of patients who have been treated for cancer who might benefit from starting yoga.  All physicians who treat cancer patients should recommend yoga, as well as writing prescriptions.

To read the abstract go here.


Photo is Grace Cheng, RN, one of the fantastic nurse volunteers in Haiti,  doing her yoga to stay centered after working all night providing relief medical care.

13 comments:

KM said...

Interesting. I have a friend who did yoga before her breast cancer, I think when she could during treatment and still does since being in remission. I will have to ask her if she noticed it helping with sleep durning that time.
My doctor has mentioned there have been studies on it where it has helped reduce high Blood Pressure.

Rich Girl Red said...

I had cervical cancer in 2003 and had been doing yoga for a few years before then. It certainly helped me during my treatment (stress relief) and also made me very "body aware." I still enjoy yoga and have started learning Tai Chi as well. Of course, my Zumba class is still my first love!

I really appreciate doctors who encourage complementary treatment--not everything can be cured with a pill!

Lockup Doc said...

I wish more doctors were open-minded about yoga. It's also very helpful for many chronic pain patients. Started doing it myself a few years ago as part of learning mindfulness meditation.

CountryMidwife said...

I'm not impressed by the article because I'm pretty sure that yoga will help EVERYONE, with any condition (or not), in many ways including stress, sleep, etc. A no brainer!

Lockup Doc said...

CountryMidwife--I understand where you're coming from, but here's the problem--any intervention that could be considered "integrative medicine" or "complementary and alternative medicine"(of which some interventions may be helpful and some not) will continue to be rejected by many practitioners of mainstream Western medicine unless there is research evidence showing that the intervention works.

So, even though it may seem like an obvious "no-brainer," there are plenty of seemingly obvious things we still set out to prove in Western medicine.

It's all about credibility. Without the work of Jon Kabat-Zinn at the U. of Mass. medical school, mindfulness meditation wouldn't be anywhere near where it is today.

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VBAC said...

Yoga is a best exercise. Yoga has so many different asana. Yoga is useful in so many disease. It is good that Yoga helps for cancer survivors.

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