Yoga does decrease suffering in cancer patients

There has been a consistent rise in Cancer prevalence and incidences, a fact which has sent alarm bells ringing among the medical fraternity across the world.  At present, NCDs, including cancer, has become the leading cause of death, contributing to more than 70% of annual deaths worldwide. 

   A recent study in The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology that showed that cancer is the prime killer for diabetic people in the UK has served a grim reminder to all. The findings were based on a study conducted for 18 years among over 300,000 patients. Yoga is an ancient Indian discipline that promotes physical and mental well-being. In the last four decades, numerous clinical trials have demonstrated the preventive and therapeutic effects of yoga in several chronic non-communicable diseases. 

   In this editorial, I present some of the interesting observations published in the last couple of months. Prakash et al. Indian J Palliat Care. 2020 conducted a randomized controlled study to evaluate yoga’s effectiveness on the Quality of Life (QoL) of breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. The study recruited 100 patients. All the included participants were administered a scheduled 3-weekly, day-care adjuvant chemotherapy (CEF regimen). The intervention group received diaphragmatic breathing techniques, systematic relaxation, alternate nostril breathing, joints and Glands, and neck and shoulder exercises twice daily at home. The practicing supervision was given while receiving second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth chemotherapy cycles in the day-care facility. The control group received only routine care. Yoga practices were effective in improving the QOL in breast cancer patients compared to the control group. The improved parameters were global health status, physical function, role function, and emotional function. It also decreased fatigue, insomnia, loss of appetite, and constipation. 

A study by Fukuhara JS and colleagues published in J Pediatr Oncol Nurs. 2020 evaluated yoga intervention’s effect among children with hematologic and oncologic diseases and their caregivers. They observed a significant decrease in pain in children. Adolescents and parents also experienced substantial reduction in anxiety after a yoga intervention. In another study by Pattnaik SJ and colleagues reported in the journal Family Med Prim Care. 2020 wrote on 200 oral cancer patients. After giving yoga intervention for one month, they reported a significant reduction of stress levels in patients.  

Yoga does decrease suffering in cancer patients based on multiple trials. The world’s top cancer hospitals thus have initiated yoga programs for their patients. The onus is on us to spread the message along. We recently had a plan on behalf of AAYM on breast cancer. You can check the videos on YouTube and Facebook.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *