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