Two new studies presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting in Chicago this week have suggested that yoga may help improve patients’ quality of life, by reducing pain, fatigue and improving their sleep quality.
Both studies found that yoga can alleviate some of the side effects that occur both during and after treatment for breast cancer. The first study, led by Karen Michelle Mustian at the University of Rochester Medical Center in the US, involved 321 patients who had finished cancer treatment.
The study found that yoga can both improve sleep quality and significantly reduce cancer-related fatigue – a major side-effect of cancer treatments that can have a debilitating impact on quality of life. Around 22% of this reduction in cancer-related fatigue was due to improved sleep quality.
The second study, led by Dr Rajendra A. Badwe, at the Tata Memorial Hospital in India, examined the impact of yoga on quality of life for breast cancer patients with operable, non-metastatic breast cancer.
While the results from this ongoing clinical trial have not shown a significant difference in quality of life between those practicing yoga alongside a conventional exercise programme and those undertaking routine exercise alone, it did find that patients doing yoga had better emotional scores, reduced fatigue and reported lower pain scores.
Baroness Delyth Morgan, Chief Executive at Breast Cancer Now, said:
“This intriguing research suggests that yoga could help alleviate some of the very difficult side-effects following breast cancer treatment, such as pain, fatigue and sleep deprivation.
“These side-effects can have a hugely detrimental impact on patients’ quality of life and yoga is a low-risk widely-available activity that could help women manage and overcome them. We now look forward to further research that can shed light on exactly which elements of yoga may be of benefit to women living with and beyond breast cancer.
“Keeping active really is key to improving patients’ quality of life and general health and wellbeing, and for some yoga may help. If you are considering taking up yoga, we’d encourage you to speak to your doctor about what level of activity might be most appropriate for you.”