Yoga and Breast Cancer Survivor Quality of Life

Yoga exercise reduced fatigue and inflammation associated with 
decreased physical function.

Breast cancer survivors frequently cite myriad symptoms, including 
fatigue, deconditioning, and depression. In addition, their 
cardiorespiratory fitness is about 30% lower than that of their 
sedentary, age-matched, cancer-free counterparts. Survivors benefit 
from regular exercise but often limit their physical activity because 
of pain and fatigue. Would less vigorous yoga exercise provide health 
benefits for such individuals?

To find out, investigators conducted a 3-month, randomized, controlled 
trial in which 200 breast cancer survivors were assigned to a yoga 
program (twice-weekly, 90-minute, hatha yoga workouts for 12 weeks) or 
to usual activities (controls). The primary outcomes were measures of 
inflammation associated with decreased physical function — 
interleukin (IL)-6, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α), and interleukin 
(IL)-1β — as well as scores on validated assessments of vitality, 
fatigue, and depression. Women reporting more than 5 hours of vigorous 
exercise per week or prior or current yoga practice were excluded.

Immediately after treatment, vitality was higher in the yoga group 
than in controls (P=0.01), but fatigue was not diminished. At 3 months 
after treatment, fatigue was lower in the yoga group (P=0.002), 
vitality was higher (P=0.01), and inflammatory measures were lower: 
IL-6 (P=0.027), TNF-α (P=0.027), and IL-β (P=0=.037). Measures of 
depression did not differ between groups.

Kiecolt-Glaser JK et al., J Clin Oncol 2014 Jan 27;

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