Yoga shown to help women with 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, new research suggests.

“The benefits could include less pain and fatigue, and more vigor, relaxation, and acceptance,” study leader Dr. James W. Carson, from Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina, told Reuters Health.

Effective ways to curb cancer-related symptoms are needed for women with advanced breast cancer, Carson and his associates note in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management. The “Yoga of Awareness” program, which is specifically designed and tailored to address patients’ pain, fatigue, and emotional distress, seems to fit the bill, according to results of a pilot study.

Thirteen women with breast cancer that had spread to other sites in the body attended the yoga classes once weekly for 8 weeks. The women were an average of 59 years old and had been first diagnosed an average of 7 years beforehand.

The program proved “helpful in significantly boosting daily invigoration and a sense of acceptance,” the investigators report. “There were also trends for improvement in pain and relaxation.”

They also found that “greater practice on a given day was associated with improvements not only on the same day, but the next day as well.”

This study “provides some of the first, tentative evidence for yoga’s potential benefits in this vulnerable population of women with limited life expectancy,” Carson and colleagues conclude.

SOURCE: Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, March 2007.

Provided by ArmMed Media