Complaints of fatigue, sleeplessness and inflammation are often reported by breast cancer survivors and reports suggest that chemotherapy and radiotherapy sessions, must-to-be followed steps in the treatment of cancer, might be the cause.
As per the study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, six months of yoga session helped in bringing down fatigue by 57 per cent and inflammation by up to 20 per cent, on an average.
"This showed that modest yoga practice over a period of several months could have substantial benefits for breast cancer survivors," said study leader Professor Janice Kiecolt-Glaser from Ohio State University in the US.
High level of inflammation not only increases the chance of breast cancer recurrence, it also leads to other problems such as diabetes, osteoporosis and heart disease, said Janice Kiecolt-Glaser.
Trouble in sleeping is another issue reported by as many as 60 per cent of cancer survivors. The figure is two to three times higher than their cancer-free counterparts. This ultimately causes tiredness. "And it's a nasty downward spiral where increasing fatigue means less activity and less activity means increasing fatigue, so that over time less and less translates into greater frailty and decline," Kiecolt-Glaser said.
She said she wanted to see if it she could find a solution to this vicious cycle.
Out of 200 women, Kiecolt-Glaser formed one group and started three-month yoga class of 90 minutes twice a week. The yoga classes consisted of freeform and free-flowing movements, also called Hatha yoga, while another group was made to wait. After three months, the group practising yoga felt more energetic and could also sleep better. But there was no difference in the members of the other group. The study shows there was a marked improvement in sleep for breast cancer survivors who underwent yoga session and this could be the main reason behind decrease in tiredness and inflammation.
According to National Cancer Institute, US, other medicines could also be responsible for insomnia problem in breast cancer survivors.
According to WHO reports, for 2012, India recorded 70,218 deaths due to breast cancer, more than any other country in the world. China is second at 47,984 deaths and the US is third with 43,909 deaths.
More than 2.9 million US women with a history of breast cancer were alive on January 1, 2012, says American Cancer Society.