Improve Physical and Psychological Well-Being with Cancer with Yoga

Improve Physical and Psychological Well-Being with Cancer with Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“For those enduring chemotherapy and radiation, yoga for cancer provides a means to strengthen the body, boost the immune system, and produce a much-sought-after feeling of well-being. For those recovering from surgery, such as that for breast cancer, yoga can help restore motion and flexibility in a gentle, balanced manner.” – Yoga U

 

Receiving a diagnosis of cancer has a huge impact on most people. Feelings of depression, anxiety, and fear are very common and are normal responses to this life-changing and potentially life-ending experience. These feeling can result from changes in body image, changes to family and work roles, feelings of grief at these losses, and physical symptoms such as pain, nausea, or fatigue. People might also fear death, suffering, pain, or all the unknown things that lie ahead. So, coping with the emotions and stress of a cancer diagnosis is a challenge and there are no simple treatments for these psychological sequelae of cancer diagnosis.

 

But cancer diagnosis is not necessarily a death sentence. Over half of the people diagnosed with cancer are still alive 10 years later and this number is rapidly increasing. It is estimated that 15 million adults and children with a history of cancer are alive in the United States today. But, surviving cancer carries with it a number of problems. “Physical, emotional, and financial hardships often persist for years after diagnosis and treatment. Cancer survivors are also at greater risk for developing second cancers and other health conditions.” National Cancer Survivors Day.

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to help with cancer recovery and help to alleviate many of the residual physical and psychological symptoms, including stress,  sleep disturbance, and anxiety and depression. In today’s Research News article “Yoga into cancer care: A review of the evidence-based research.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: http://www.ijoy.org.in/article.asp?issn=0973-6131;year=2018;volume=11;issue=1;spage=3;epage=29;aulast=Agarwal), Agarwal and Maroko-Afek review and summarize the published research literature on the effects of yoga practice on the physical and psychological symptoms of cancer diagnosis. They found 138 published studies with patients suffering from cancer and cancer treatment-related symptoms and side effects.

 

They found that yoga practice had widespread positive benefits for the psychological state and quality of life of the patients including reductions in anxiety, depression, anger, stress, PTSD symptoms, fear of reoccurrence, delirium, memory and concentration problems, and increases in self-esteem and social function. They also found that the literature demonstrated that yoga practice reduced a wide variety of physical symptoms of cancer or cancer treatment, including cardiovascular and pulmonary problems, inflammation, sleep and sexual dysfunctions, urinary and bladder problems, and skin and hair problems.

 

Hence, the published research makes a compelling case for the addition of yoga practice to the usual treatment of cancer. It is a safe, effective, and inexpensive treatment, with profound benefits for the psychological and physical health and quality of life of cancer patients.

 

So, improve physical and psychological well-being with cancer with yoga.

 

“Yoga for cancer patients—what better way to manage anxiety, gain strength, increase flexibility, and create feelings of well-being! A growing body of research points to the potential of yoga for supporting cancer patients, both during and after treatment.” – Tari Prinster

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Agarwal RP, Maroko-Afek A. Yoga into cancer care: A review of the evidence-based research. Int J Yoga 2018;11:3-29

 

Abstract

To cope with cancer and its treatment-related side effects and toxicities, people are increasingly using complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). Consequently, integrative oncology, which combines conventional therapies and evidence-based CAM practices, is an emerging discipline in cancer care. The use of yoga as a CAM is proving to be beneficial and increasingly gaining popularity. An electronic database search (PubMed), through December 15, 2016, revealed 138 relevant clinical trials (single-armed, nonrandomized, and randomized controlled trials) on the use of yoga in cancer patients. A total of 10,660 cancer patients from 20 countries were recruited in these studies. Regardless of some methodological deficiencies, most of the studies reported that yoga improved the physical and psychological symptoms, quality of life, and markers of immunity of the patients, providing a strong support for yoga’s integration into conventional cancer care. This review article presents the published clinical research on the prevalence of yoga’s use in cancer patients so that oncologists, researchers, and the patients are aware of the evidence supporting the use of this relatively safe modality in cancer care.

http://www.ijoy.org.in/article.asp?issn=0973-6131;year=2018;volume=11;issue=1;spage=3;epage=29;aulast=Agarwal

Improve Cancer Survivor Quality of Life with Exercise or Mindfulness

Improve Cancer Survivor Quality of Life with Exercise or Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“One of the main reasons people with cancer use meditation is to help them to feel better. Meditation can reduce anxiety and stress. It might also help control problems such as: pain, difficulty sleeping, tiredness, feeling sick, high blood pressure.” – Cancer Research UK

 

Receiving a diagnosis of cancer has a huge impact on most people. Feelings of depression, anxiety, and fear are very common and are normal responses to this life-changing and potentially life-ending experience. These feeling can result from changes in body image, changes to family and work roles, feelings of grief at these losses, and physical symptoms such as pain, nausea, or fatigue. People might also fear death, suffering, pain, or all the unknown things that lie ahead. So, coping with the emotions and stress of a cancer diagnosis is a challenge and there are no simple treatments for these psychological sequelae of cancer diagnosis.

 

But cancer diagnosis is not necessarily a death sentence. Over half of the people diagnosed with cancer are still alive 10 years later and this number is rapidly increasing. It is estimated that 15 million adults and children with a history of cancer are alive in the United States today. But, surviving cancer carries with it a number of problems. “Physical, emotional, and financial hardships often persist for years after diagnosis and treatment. Cancer survivors are also at greater risk for developing second cancers and other health conditions.” National Cancer Survivors Day.

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to help with cancer recovery and help to alleviate many of the residual physical and psychological symptoms, including stress,  sleep disturbance, and anxiety and depression. In today’s Research News article “Review of systematic reviews of non-pharmacological interventions to improve quality of life in cancer survivors.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5719270/ ), Duncan and colleagues summarize the published scientific reviews of randomized controlled trials on the effects of non-drug interventions on the quality of life of adult cancer survivors. The interventions included fell into a number of categories including physical (e.g. aerobic exercise, yoga), psychological education,  peer support, and mind-body therapies (Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), psychotherapy, relaxation training).

 

They discovered 21 published reviews of 362 randomized controlled trials. They found that the literature supported the efficacy of aerobic exercise, yoga, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) in improving the quality of life in cancer survivors. Hence, published scientific randomized controlled trials of non-drug treatment approaches demonstrate that the quality of life of cancer survivors can be improved with exercise, CBT, and mindfulness practices such as MBSR and yoga.

 

It was not reported how these practices might improve quality of life in cancer survivors. But, it can be speculated that because cancer treatments are physically demanding and of themselves produce physical debilitation, that exercise is a useful countermeasure to help overcome the physical losses occurring in treatment. It can also be speculated that mindfulness training may be helpful by improving the survivor’s ability to regulate the emotions produced by a cancer diagnosis and its treatment. These include anxiety, depression, fear, catastrophizing etc. By improving the ability to feel these emotions but react to them adaptively and thereby not amplifying them, the survivors may help to improve their emotional well-being and as a result their quality of life.

 

So, improve cancer survivor quality of life with exercise or mindfulness.

 

“We already know that psychosocial interventions like mindfulness meditation will help you feel better mentally, but now for the first time we have evidence that they can also influence key aspects of your biology,” – Linda Carlson

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Duncan, M., Moschopoulou, E., Herrington, E., Deane, J., Roylance, R., Jones, L., … Bhui, K. (2017). Review of systematic reviews of non-pharmacological interventions to improve quality of life in cancer survivors. BMJ Open, 7(11), e015860. http://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2017-015860

 

Strengths and limitations of this study

  • This is a systematic review of reviews and evidence synthesis of non-pharmacological interventions in cancer survivors.
  • Longer term studies are needed and studies of greater methodological quality that adopt similar reporting standards.
  • Definitions of survivor varied and more studies are needed for different types of cancer, and specifically for patients who have poor quality of life.
  • More studies are needed that investigate educational, online and multidisciplinary team-based interventions.
  • This review has some limitations in the methodology. Studies not in English and grey literature were not included. This was a review of reviews: we did not review individual studies focused on specific cancers or stage, and we did not reassess the quality of the primary studies included in each review.

 

Abstract

Objectives

Over two million people in the UK are living with and beyond cancer. A third report diminished quality of life.

Design

A review of published systematic reviews to identify effective non-pharmacological interventions to improve the quality of life of cancer survivors.

Data sources

Databases searched until May 2017 included PubMed, Cochrane Central, EMBASE, MEDLINE, Web of Science, the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, and PsycINFO.

Study selection

Published systematic reviews of randomised trials of non-pharmacological interventions for people living with and beyond cancer were included; included reviews targeted patients aged over 18. All participants had already received a cancer diagnosis. Interventions located in any healthcare setting, home or online were included. Reviews of alternative therapies or those non-English reports were excluded. Two researchers independently assessed titles, abstracts and the full text of papers, and independently extracted the data.

Outcomes

The primary outcome of interest was any measure of global (overall) quality of life.

Analytical methods

Quality assessment assessing methdological quality of systematic reviews (AMSTAR) and narrative synthesis, evaluating effectiveness of non-pharmacological interventions and their components.

Results

Of 14 430 unique titles, 21 were included in the review of reviews. There was little overlap in the primary papers across these reviews. Thirteen reviews covered mixed tumour groups, seven focused on breast cancer and one focused on prostate cancer. Face-to-face interventions were often combined with online, telephone and paper-based reading materials. Interventions included physical, psychological or behavioural, multidimensional rehabilitation and online approaches. Yoga specifically, physical exercise more generally, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) programmes showed benefit in terms of quality of life.

Conclusions

Exercise-based interventions were effective in the short (less than 3–8 months) and long term. CBT and MBSR also showed benefits, especially in the short term. The evidence for multidisciplinary, online and educational interventions was equivocal.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5719270/

Improve Mental and Physical Health of Breast Cancer Survivors with Mindfulness

Improve Mental and Physical Health of Breast Cancer Survivors with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“mindfulness-based meditation can help ease the stress, anxiety, fear, and depression that often come along with a breast cancer diagnosis and treatment.” – Breastcancer.org

 

About 12.5% of women in the U.S. develop invasive breast cancer over their lifetimes and every year about 40,000 women die. Indeed, more women in the U.S. die from breast cancer than from any other cancer, besides lung cancer. Breast cancer diagnosis, however, is not always a death sentence. Death rates have been decreasing for decades from improved detection and treatment of breast cancer. Five-year survival rates are now at around 95%. The improved survival rates mean that more women are now living with cancer.

 

Surviving cancer, however, carries with it a number of problems. “Physical, emotional, and financial hardships often persist for years after diagnosis and treatment. Cancer survivors are also at greater risk for developing second cancers and other health conditions.” (National Cancer Survivors Day). Also, breast cancer survivors can have to deal with a heightened fear of reoccurrence. This is particularly true with metastatic cancer. Additionally, cancer survivors frequently suffer from anxiety, depression, mood disturbance, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), sleep disturbance, fatigue, sexual dysfunction, loss of personal control, impaired quality of life, an alteration of their body image, and psychiatric symptoms which have been found to persist even ten years after remission. So, safe and effective treatments for the symptoms in breast cancer and the physical and psychological effects of the treatments are needed.

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to help with general cancer recovery and breast cancer recovery. Mindfulness helps to alleviate many of the residual physical and psychological symptoms, including stress,  sleep disturbance, and anxiety and depressionYoga practice has also been shown to be helpful with the residual symptoms and the psychological and physical ability to deal with cancer treatment. The Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program includes meditation, body scan, and yoga. So, it would likely be of great benefit for women with breast cancer during and after treatment.

 

In today’s Research News article “Examination of Broad Symptom Improvement Resulting From Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction in Breast Cancer Survivors: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5012660/ ), Lengacher and colleagues recruited women with Stage 0 to III breast cancer who had been diagnosed within the last 2 years. They were randomly assigned to receive usual care or usual care plus a 6-week, 2-hour, once a week program of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). The MBSR group was encouraged to practice at home for 15 to 45 minutes daily. They were measured before and after treatment and 6-weeks later for pain, fatigue, quality of life, anxiety, depression, perceived stress, concerns about recurrence, and clinical history of cancer diagnosis and treatment. Participation rates were high with 91% of the original participants completing the program.

 

They found that MBSR participation produced significant symptom improvements that were generally maintained for the following 6 weeks. The MBSR group had significantly greater reductions in anxiety, fear of recurrence overall, and fear of recurrence problems and physical symptoms of fatigue severity and fatigue interference. They also found that the women who had the greatest levels of stress at the beginning of the training benefited the most from it, with significantly greater reductions in fear of recurrence and fatigue.

 

MBSR has been shown in other healthy and ill groups to reduce anxiety, fatigue, and stress. So, it is good to see that MBSR is effective for this highly compromised and stressed group. The trial did not have an active control condition, leaving open the possibility of bias. Future research should include and active control, perhaps exercise. Regardless, the results are very encouraging and suggest that Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) may be an excellent additional treatment for women with breast cancer improving their mental and physical health.

 

So, improve mental and physical health of breast cancer survivors with Mindfulness.

 

“The most widely researched meditation program is called Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction or MBSR. It combines a variety of techniques, including body scan, sitting meditation, and gentle and mindful yoga. Studies of MBSR in women with breast cancer show that the practice can have a strong positive impact on mental health and lower levels of hormones that cause stress.” – LBBC.org

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Lengacher, C. A., Reich, R. R., Paterson, C. L., Ramesar, S., Park, J. Y., Alinat, C., … Kip, K. E. (2016). Examination of Broad Symptom Improvement Resulting From Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction in Breast Cancer Survivors: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 34(24), 2827–2834. http://doi.org/10.1200/JCO.2015.65.7874

 

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this randomized trial was to evaluate the efficacy of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction for Breast Cancer (MBSR[BC]) program in improving psychological and physical symptoms and quality of life among breast cancer survivors (BCSs) who completed treatment. Outcomes were assessed immediately after 6 weeks of MBSR(BC) training and 6 weeks later to test efficacy over an extended timeframe.

Patients and Methods

A total of 322 BCSs were randomly assigned to either a 6-week MBSR(BC) program (n = 155) or a usual care group (n = 167). Psychological (depression, anxiety, stress, and fear of recurrence) and physical symptoms (fatigue and pain) and quality of life (as related to health) were assessed at baseline and at 6 and 12 weeks. Linear mixed models were used to assess MBSR(BC) effects over time, and participant characteristics at baseline were also tested as moderators of MBSR(BC) effects.

Results

Results demonstrated extended improvement for the MBSR(BC) group compared with usual care in both psychological symptoms of anxiety, fear of recurrence overall, and fear of recurrence problems and physical symptoms of fatigue severity and fatigue interference (P < .01). Overall effect sizes were largest for fear of recurrence problems (d = 0.35) and fatigue severity (d = 0.27). Moderation effects showed BCSs with the highest levels of stress at baseline experienced the greatest benefit from MBSR(BC).

Conclusion

The MBSR(BC) program significantly improved a broad range of symptoms among BCSs up to 6 weeks after MBSR(BC) training, with generally small to moderate overall effect sizes.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5012660/

Improve the Mental and Physical Health of Breast Cancer Survivors with Yoga

Improve the Mental and Physical Health of Breast Cancer Survivors with Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“It was very frightening. You wonder, obviously—Am I going to live through this? I’m convinced that yoga made all the difference in my treatment. The breathing was the thing that always came back for me—keeping the fear and panic down. I was in a PET scan machine for an hour. You just lie there and think terrible thoughts. I found my breathing. That was the most valuable thing.” – Debra Campagna

 

About 12.5% of women in the U.S. develop invasive breast cancer over their lifetimes and every year about 40,000 women die. Indeed, more women in the U.S. die from breast cancer than from any other cancer, besides lung cancer. Breast cancer diagnosis, however, is not always a death sentence. Death rates have been decreasing for decades from improved detection and treatment of breast cancer. Five-year survival rates are now at around 95%. The improved survival rates mean that more women are now living with cancer.

 

Surviving cancer, however, carries with it a number of problems. “Physical, emotional, and financial hardships often persist for years after diagnosis and treatment. Cancer survivors are also at greater risk for developing second cancers and other health conditions.” (National Cancer Survivors Day). Also, breast cancer survivors can have to deal with a heightened fear of reoccurrence. This is particularly true with metastatic cancer. Additionally, cancer survivors frequently suffer from anxiety, depression, mood disturbance, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), sleep disturbance, fatigue, sexual dysfunction, loss of personal control, impaired quality of life, an alteration of their body image, and psychiatric symptoms which have been found to persist even ten years after remission. So, safe and effective treatments for the symptoms in breast cancer and the physical and psychological effects of the treatments are needed.

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to help with general cancer recovery and breast cancer recovery. Mindfulness helps to alleviate many of the residual physical and psychological symptoms, including stress,  sleep disturbance, and anxiety and depression. Yoga practice has also been shown to be helpful with the residual symptoms and the psychological and physical ability to deal with cancer treatment. So, it’s reasonable to further explore the potential benefits of yoga practice for women during and after treatment.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effect of Long-term Yoga Practice on Psychological outcomes in Breast Cancer Survivors.” See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5545946/, Amritanshu and colleagues recruited breast cancer survivors who were at least 6 months since the completion of treatment. They separated them into groups based upon whether they practiced yoga or not during the last year. The participants were measured for perceived stress, anxiety, depression, sleep quality, general health, and quality of life, including physical, psychological, social, and functional dimensions.

 

They found that the group that practiced yoga had significantly better psychological and physical health, sleep, and quality of life on all measures compared to the group that did not practice yoga. Hence, the overall health and well-being of the breast cancer survivors were significantly superior when they practiced yoga.

 

It should be kept in mind that this was not a manipulative study, so causation cannot be determined. It is possible that only those breast cancer survivors who were generally healthy would choose to participate in yoga. Previous research, however, that actively trained breast cancer patients in yoga has demonstrated that yoga practice produced significant improvements in the health and well-being of the participants. So, there is reason to believe that yoga practice was responsible for the present findings and that yoga practice improves the mental and physical health of breast cancer survivors.

 

So, improve the mental and physical health of breast cancer survivors with yoga.

 

“Studies suggest that doing yoga while going through breast cancer treatment helps you get through it with fewer side effects. Often doctors have to stop chemo or lower doses to levels that may not be as effective because people don’t tolerate the side effects. But yoga appears to decrease all kinds of side effects.” – Timothy McCall

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Amritanshu, R. R., Rao, R. M., Nagaratna, R., Veldore, V. H., Usha Rani, M. U., Gopinath, K. S., & Ajaikumar, B. S. (2017). Effect of Long-term Yoga Practice on Psychological outcomes in Breast Cancer Survivors. Indian Journal of Palliative Care, 23(3), 231–236. http://doi.org/10.4103/IJPC.IJPC_93_17

 

Abstract

Aim:

Breast cancer has become a pandemic with an ever-increasing incidence. Although better diagnostics and treatment modalities have reduced mortality, a large number of survivors face cancer and treatment-related long-term symptoms. Many survivors are taking up yoga for improving the quality of life (QoL). The present study attempts to evaluate predictors of psychological states in breast cancer survivors with long-term yoga experience.

Materials and Methods:

A case–control study recruited early breast cancer survivors, 30–65 years, completing treatment > 6 months before recruitment, and grouped them based on prior yoga experience (BCY, n = 27) or naïve (BCN, n = 25). Demography, cancer history, diet, exercise habits, and yoga schedule were collected and tools to assess stress, anxiety, depression, general health, and QoL were administered. Multivariate linear regression was done to identify predictors of psychological variables.

Results:

BCY had significantly lower stress, anxiety, depression, better general health, and QoL (P < 0.001). Global QoL and trait anxiety were significantly predicted by Yoga practice; depression was predicted by yoga practice, annual income, and sleep quality; state anxiety was predicted by Yoga practice and income; and stress was predicted by Yoga practice and sleep quality.

Conclusion:

Results indicate that breast cancer survivors, doing yoga, have better psychological profiles and are able to deal with demanding situations better. The psycho-oncogenic model of cancer etiology suggests that a better psychological state in survival has the potential to improve prognosis and survival outcomes and Yoga may be a suitable practice for staying cancer-free for a longer time.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5545946/

Reduce Fatigue with Breast Cancer with Yoga

Reduce Fatigue with Breast Cancer with Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Yoga works on the principle of mind and body health and it would help women cope with systemic therapy side effects better. Yoga nidra and pranayama also improve sleep patterns. Thus, all this together may reduce fatigue and pain.” – Nita Nair

 

Because of great advances in treatment, many women today are surviving breast cancer. But, cancer survivors frequently suffer from anxiety, depression, mood disturbance, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), sleep disturbance, fatigue, sexual dysfunction, loss of personal control, impaired quality of life, an alteration of their body image, and psychiatric symptoms which have been found to persist even ten years after remission. Also, breast cancer survivors can have to deal with a heightened fear of reoccurrence. This is particularly true with metastatic cancer. So, safe and effective treatments for the symptoms in breast cancer and the physical and psychological effects of the treatments are needed.

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to help with general cancer recovery and breast cancer recovery. Yoga practice of has also been shown to be helpful with the residual symptoms, the psychological and physical ability to deal with cancer treatment and improves sleep in women with metastatic breast cancer. So, it’s reasonable to further explore the potential benefits of yoga practice to relieve fatigue and stress in women fighting metastatic breast cancer.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effects of Yoga in Managing Fatigue in Breast Cancer Patients: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5545948/, Vadiraja and colleagues recruited women with advanced metastatic breast cancer. They received treatment as usual and were randomly assigned to receive either education and supportive counseling or an integrated yoga program for 12 weeks consisting of 60-min sessions twice a week combined with home practice of relaxation, breathing exercises, postures, and meditation. They were measured before and after treatment for perceived stress and fatigue.

 

In comparison to baseline and the control group the yoga practice group had significant reductions in perceived stress and in fatigue, including severity, how often they felt fatigued, how much fatigue interfered with their everyday activities, and the difference between daytime and nighttime fatigue.  It would have been better if the control group had performed some other form of exercise to determine if it was yoga practice per se or simply exercise was responsible for the results. In addition, since the integrated yoga program contained multiple components it is impossible to differentiate which or which combination of components was effective. Nevertheless, these are impressive and exciting results that integrated yoga practice can have such positive effects on women with advanced metastatic breast cancer.

 

Mindfulness practices, including yoga practice, has been shown to reduce the physiological and psychological responses to stress and fatigue in other populations. It is particularly good that yoga has these effects in women with cancer where stress and fatigue exacerbate an already difficult situation. These effects may help to contribute to these women’s ability to fight off the cancer and improve their longevity.

 

So, reduce fatigue with breast cancer with yoga.

 

“Even on my worst days, in terms of fatigue, if I just got up and did a little something, whether it be some light stretching, gentle yoga, just some yoga, that definitely made me feel better.”Amy Schnitzler

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Vadiraja, H., Rao, R. M., Nagarathna, R., Nagendra, H., Patil, S., Diwakar, R. B., … Ajaikumar, B. (2017). Effects of Yoga in Managing Fatigue in Breast Cancer Patients: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Indian Journal of Palliative Care, 23(3), 247–252. http://doi.org/10.4103/IJPC.IJPC_95_17

 

Abstract

Background:

Cancer-related fatigue is widely prevalent in cancer patients and affects quality of life in advanced cancer patients. Fatigue is caused due to both psychologic distress and physiological sequel following cancer progression and its treatment. In this study, we evaluate the effects of yogic intervention in managing fatigue in metastatic breast cancer patients.

Methods:

Ninety-one patients with metastatic breast cancer were randomized to receive integrated yoga program (n = 46) or supportive therapy and education (n = 45) over a 3-month period. Assessments such as perceived stress, fatigue symptom inventory, diurnal salivary cortisol, and natural killer cell counts were carried out before and after intervention. Analysis was done using an intention-to-treat approach. Postmeasures for the above outcomes were assessed using ANCOVA with respective baseline measure as a covariate.

Results:

The results suggest that yoga reduces perceived stress (P = 0.001), fatigue frequency (P < 0.001), fatigue severity (P < 0.001), interference (P < 0.001), and diurnal variation (P < 0.001) when compared to supportive therapy. There was a positive correlation of change in fatigue severity with 9 a.m. salivary cortisol levels.

Conclusion:

The results suggest that yoga reduces fatigue in advanced breast cancer patients.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5545948/

Improve the Physical and Psychological Condition of Breast Cancer Patients with Yoga

Improve the Physical and Psychological Condition of Breast Cancer Patients with Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Studies suggest that doing yoga while going through breast cancer treatment helps you get through it with fewer side effects. Often doctors have to stop chemo or lower doses to levels that may not be as effective because people don’t tolerate the side effects. But yoga appears to decrease all kinds of side effects.” – Timothy McCall

 

About 12.5% of women in the U.S. develop invasive breast cancer over their lifetimes and every year about 40,000 women die. Indeed, more women in the U.S. die from breast cancer than from any other cancer, besides lung cancer. Breast cancer diagnosis, however, is not a death sentence. Death rates have been decreasing for decades from improved detection and treatment of breast cancer. Five-year survival rates are now at around 95%. The improved survival rates mean that more women are now living with cancer.

 

Cancer treatment involving surgery and radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy is extremely difficult physically and emotionally. In addition, surviving cancer, however, carries with it a number of problems. “Physical, emotional, and financial hardships often persist for years after diagnosis and treatment. Cancer survivors are also at greater risk for developing second cancers and other health conditions.” (National Cancer Survivors Day). Also, breast cancer survivors can have to deal with a heightened fear of reoccurrence, and an alteration of their body image. Additionally, cancer survivors frequently suffer from anxiety, depression, mood disturbance, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), sleep disturbance, fatigue, sexual dysfunction, loss of personal control, impaired quality of life, and psychiatric symptoms which have been found to persist even ten years after remission. So, safe and effective treatments for the symptoms in breast cancer and the physical and psychological effects of the treatments are needed.

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to help with general cancer recovery and breast cancer recovery. Mindfulness helps to alleviate many of the residual physical and psychological symptoms, including stress,  sleep disturbance, and anxiety and depression. The mindfulness practice of Yoga has also been shown to be helpful with the residual symptoms. So, it’s reasonable to further explore the potential benefits of yoga practice for women during and after treatment.

 

In today’s Research News article “Salute to the sun: a new dawn in yoga therapy for breast cancer.” See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5587658/, Galliford and colleagues reviewed and summarized the published research studies of the application of yoga therapy or Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), which contains yoga, for women with breast cancer. They found 38 published studies. They report that the research fids that yoga is effective in improving emotion regulation, quality of life, sleep quality, lymphatic system integrity, and social functioning, and decreasing anxiety, depression, and stress hormones (cortisol).

 

These are important findings that are fairly consistent across a variety of studies. The research clearly suggests that practicing yoga can benefit the social, psychological, and physical functioning of women with breast cancer. These are important benefits that suggest that yoga practice may improve women’s ability to fight breast cancer and maintain health and improve overall well-being.

 

So, improve the physical and psychological condition of breast cancer patients with yoga.

 

”For women with breast cancer, research shows those who practice yoga may also have less stress and fatigue, and better quality of life.” – Stacy Simon

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Galliford, M., Robinson, S., Bridge, P., & Carmichael, M. (2017). Salute to the sun: a new dawn in yoga therapy for breast cancer. Journal of Medical Radiation Sciences, 64(3), 232–238. http://doi.org/10.1002/jmrs.218

 

Abstract

Introduction

Interest in the application of yoga for health benefits in western medicine is growing rapidly, with a significant rise in publications. The purpose of this systematic review is to determine whether the inclusion of yoga therapy to the treatment of breast cancer can improve the patient’s physical and psychosocial quality of life (QoL).

Methods

A search of peer reviewed journal articles published between January 2009 and July 2014 was conducted. Studies were included if they had more than 15 study participants, included interventions such as mindfulness‐based stress reduction (MBSR) or yoga therapy with or without comparison groups and had stated physical or psychological outcomes.

Results

Screening identified 38 appropriate articles. The most reported psychosocial benefits of yoga therapy were anxiety, emotional and social functioning, stress, depression and global QoL. The most reported physical benefits of yoga therapy were improved salivary cortisol readings, sleep quality and lymphocyte apoptosis. Benefits in these areas were linked strongly with the yoga interventions, in addition to significant improvement in overall QoL.

Conclusion

The evidence supports the use of yoga therapy to improve the physical and psychosocial QoL for breast cancer patients with a range of benefits relevant to radiation therapy. Future studies are recommended to confirm these benefits. Evidence‐based recommendations for implementation of a yoga therapy programme have been derived and included within this review. Long‐term follow‐up is necessary with these programmes to assess the efficacy of the yoga intervention in terms of sustainability and patient outcomes.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5587658/

Improve the Physiology and Quality of Life with Cancer with Qigong

Improve the Physiology and Quality of Life with Cancer with Qigong

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Regular practice of Qigong exercise therapy has the potential to improve cancer-related QOL and is indirectly linked to cancer prevention and survival.” – Qigong Institute

 

Receiving a diagnosis of cancer has a huge impact on most people. Feelings of depression, anxiety, and fear are very common and are normal responses to this life-changing and potentially life-ending experience. These feeling can result from changes in body image, changes to family and work roles, feelings of grief at these losses, and physical symptoms such as pain, nausea, or fatigue. People might also fear death, suffering, pain, or all the unknown things that lie ahead. So, coping with the emotions and stress of a cancer diagnosis is a challenge and there are no simple treatments for these psychological sequelae of cancer diagnosis.

 

But cancer diagnosis is not necessarily a death sentence. Over half of the people diagnosed with cancer are still alive 10 years later and this number is rapidly increasing. It is estimated that 15 million adults and children with a history of cancer are alive in the United States today. But, surviving cancer carries with it a number of problems. “Physical, emotional, and financial hardships often persist for years after diagnosis and treatment. Cancer survivors are also at greater risk for developing second cancers and other health conditions.” National Cancer Survivors Day.

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to help with cancer recovery and help to alleviate many of the residual physical and psychological symptoms, including stress,  sleep disturbance, and anxiety and depression.. Tai Chi or Qigong practice has been shown to improve quality of life, reduce fatigue, and lower blood pressure and cortisol levels.  In today’s Research News article “Qigong in Cancer Care: Theory, Evidence-Base, and Practice.” See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5597070/, Klein reviews and summarized the published research literature on the application of Qigong practice for the treatment of patients with cancer. She defined Qigong practice as “Qigong refers to all skills of mind-body exercises that integrate breathing adjustment, body adjustment and mind adjustment into one.”

 

She reports that Qigong practice appears to strengthen the immune system and decrease the inflammatory responses; processes that tend to exacerbate the progression of cancer. In addition, Qigong practice appears to affect the DNA itself, preserving the telomeres, which are associated with cellular health. Qigong practice by cancer patients appears to improve the patients’ quality of life, reduce the fatigue that often accompanies cancer treatment, strengthen immune function, reduce cortisol levels, a stress marker, and reduce the cognitive impairments that frequently accompany cancer treatment. These benefits are present regardless of the variant of Qigong that is practiced. Finally, she reports that the research literature reports that Qigong practice is safe, with no known negative side effects.

 

The research suggests that Qigong practice is a safe and effective treatment for cancer patients. It appears to produce physiological changes that promote the individual’s ability to fight the cancer, mitigate the negative effects of cancer treatments, and overall improve the individual’s ability to carry on with their lives. Also, Qigong is a gentle practice, completely safe, can be used by anyone, including the elderly and sickly, is inexpensive to administer, is convenient as it can be performed in groups or alone, at home or in a facility or even public park, and can be quickly learned. In addition, it can also be practiced in social groups without professional supervision. This can make it fun, improving the likelihood of long-term engagement in the practice.

 

So, improve the physiology and quality of life with cancer with Qigong.

 

“Qigong is clearly not for those who would like to take a pill and wait for the next instruction from the oncologist. But for anyone who has found their diagnosis has led them to a deeper enquiry into the subtler energetic levels of health and healing, this practice has a proven track record and can provide excellent results for those with the discipline for daily practice.” – Ginny Fraser

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Klein, P. (2017). Qigong in Cancer Care: Theory, Evidence-Base, and Practice. Medicines, 4(1), 2. http://doi.org/10.3390/medicines4010002

 

Abstract

Background: The purpose of this discussion is to explore the theory, evidence base, and practice of Qigong for individuals with cancer. Questions addressed are: What is qigong? How does it work? What evidence exists supporting its practice in integrative oncology? What barriers to wide-spread programming access exist? Methods: Sources for this discussion include a review of scholarly texts, the Internet, PubMed, field observations, and expert opinion. Results: Qigong is a gentle, mind/body exercise integral within Chinese medicine. Theoretical foundations include Chinese medicine energy theory, psychoneuroimmunology, the relaxation response, the meditation effect, and epigenetics. Research supports positive effects on quality of life (QOL), fatigue, immune function and cortisol levels, and cognition for individuals with cancer. There is indirect, scientific evidence suggesting that qigong practice may positively influence cancer prevention and survival. No one Qigong exercise regimen has been established as superior. Effective protocols do have common elements: slow mindful exercise, easy to learn, breath regulation, meditation, emphasis on relaxation, and energy cultivation including mental intent and self-massage. Conclusions: Regular practice of Qigong exercise therapy has the potential to improve cancer-related QOL and is indirectly linked to cancer prevention and survival. Wide-spread access to quality Qigong in cancer care programming may be challenged by the availability of existing programming and work force capacity.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5597070/

Improve Immune Response and Sleep to Breast Cancer with Yoga

Improve Immune Response and Sleep to Breast Cancer with Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“I’m convinced that yoga made all the difference in my treatment. The breathing was the thing that always came back for me—keeping the fear and panic down. I was in a PET scan machine for an hour. You just lie there and think terrible thoughts. I found my breathing. That was the most valuable thing.” –  Debra Campagna

 

About 12.5% of women in the U.S. develop invasive breast cancer over their lifetimes and every year about 40,000 women die. Indeed, more women in the U.S. die from breast cancer than from any other cancer, besides lung cancer. Breast cancer diagnosis, however, is not always a death sentence. Death rates have been decreasing for decades from improved detection and treatment of breast cancer. Five-year survival rates are now at around 95%. The improved survival rates mean that more women are now living with cancer.

 

Surviving cancer, however, carries with it a number of problems. “Physical, emotional, and financial hardships often persist for years after diagnosis and treatment. Cancer survivors are also at greater risk for developing second cancers and other health conditions.” (National Cancer Survivors Day). Also, breast cancer survivors can have to deal with a heightened fear of reoccurrence. This is particularly true with metastatic cancer. Additionally, cancer survivors frequently suffer from anxiety, depression, mood disturbance, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), sleep disturbance, fatigue, sexual dysfunction, loss of personal control, impaired quality of life, an alteration of their body image, and psychiatric symptoms which have been found to persist even ten years after remission. So, safe and effective treatments for the symptoms in breast cancer and the physical and psychological effects of the treatments are needed.

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to help with general cancer recovery and breast cancer recovery. Mindfulness helps to alleviate many of the residual physical and psychological symptoms, including stress,  sleep disturbance, and anxiety and depression. The mindfulness practice of Yoga has also been shown to be helpful with the residual symptoms and the psychological and physical ability to deal with cancer treatment. So, it’s reasonable to further explore the potential benefits of yoga practice for women during and after treatment.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effect of Yoga on Sleep Quality and Neuroendocrine Immune Response in Metastatic Breast Cancer Patients.” See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5545949/, Rao and colleagues recruited women with advanced metastatic breast cancer. They received treatment as usual and were randomly assigned to receive either education and supportive counseling or an integrated yoga program for 12 weeks consisting of 60-min sessions twice a week combined with home practice of relaxation, breathing exercises, postures, and meditation. They were measured before and after treatment for sleep disturbance, salivary cortisol, and natural killer cells in the blood.

 

They found that after treatment the yoga practice group had significant improvements in sleep including sleep quality and reductions in insomnia and sleep distress. There was also a decrease in salivary cortisol levels in the morning indicating a less stressful sleep. Importantly, they found that yoga practice produced a significant increase in natural killer cells in the blood. There were no adverse effects observed and adherence to the protocol was high at 80%.

 

It would have been better if the control group had performed some other form of exercise to determine if it was yoga practice per se or simply exercise was responsible for the results. In addition, since the integrated yoga program contained multiple components it is impossible to differentiate which or which combination of components was effective. Nevertheless, these are impressive and exciting results that integrated yoga practice can have such profound positive effects on women with advanced metastatic breast cancer.

 

The results suggest that yoga practice improves sleep and the ability of the immune system to fight the cancer. The importance of adequate, high quality sleep for women fighting cancer cannot be overemphasized. High sleep quality is related to reductions in stress and inflammation which in turn is related to improved ability to fight the cancer. The present findings suggest that yoga is a safe and effective practice with clear physical and psychological benefits aiding in the fight against advanced metastatic breast cancer.

 

So, improve immune response and sleep to breast cancer with yoga.

 

“For women with breast cancer, research shows those who practice yoga may also have less stress and fatigue, and better quality of life.” – American Cancer Society

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Rao, R. M., Vadiraja, H., Nagaratna, R., Gopinath, K. S., Patil, S., Diwakar, R. B., … Nagendra, H. (2017). Effect of Yoga on Sleep Quality and Neuroendocrine Immune Response in Metastatic Breast Cancer Patients. Indian Journal of Palliative Care, 23(3), 253–260. http://doi.org/10.4103/IJPC.IJPC_102_17

 

Abstract

Background:

Studies have shown that distress and accompanying neuroendocrine stress responses as important predictor of survival in advanced breast cancer patients. Some psychotherapeutic intervention studies have shown have modulation of neuroendocrine-immune responses in advanced breast cancer patients. In this study, we evaluate the effects of yoga on perceived stress, sleep, diurnal cortisol, and natural killer (NK) cell counts in patients with metastatic cancer.

Methods:

In this study, 91 patients with metastatic breast cancer who satisfied selection criteria and consented to participate were recruited and randomized to receive “integrated yoga based stress reduction program” (n = 45) or standard “education and supportive therapy sessions” (n = 46) over a 3 month period. Psychometric assessments for sleep quality were done before and after intervention. Blood draws for NK cell counts were collected before and after the intervention. Saliva samples were collected for three consecutive days before and after intervention. Data were analyzed using the analysis of covariance on postmeasures using respective baseline measure as a covariate.

Results:

There was a significant decrease in scales of symptom distress (P < 0.001), sleep parameters (P = 0.02), and improvement in quality of sleep (P = 0.001) and Insomnia Rating Scale sleep score (P = 0.001) following intervention. There was a decrease in morning waking cortisol in yoga group (P = 0.003) alone following intervention. There was a significant improvement in NK cell percent (P = 0.03) following intervention in yoga group compared to control group.

Conclusion:

The results suggest modulation of neuroendocrine responses and improvement in sleep in patients with advanced breast cancer following yoga intervention.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5545949/

Improve Psychological and Physical State During Cancer Treatment with Yoga

Improve Psychological and Physical State During Cancer Treatment with Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“yoga therapy for cancer patients and cancer survivors is emerging as one of the more successful methods for combating the physical discomfort of cancer and cancer treatment.” – Yoga U

 

About 12.5% of women in the U.S. develop invasive breast cancer over their lifetimes and every year about 40,000 women die. Indeed, more women in the U.S. die from breast cancer than from any other cancer, besides lung cancer. Breast cancer diagnosis, however, is not a death sentence. Death rates have been decreasing for decades from improved detection and treatment of breast cancer. Five-year survival rates are now at around 95%. The improved survival rates mean that more women are now living with cancer.

 

Cancer treatment involving surgery and radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy is extremely difficult physically and emotionally. Surviving cancer, however, carries with it a number of problems. “Physical, emotional, and financial hardships often persist for years after diagnosis and treatment. Cancer survivors are also at greater risk for developing second cancers and other health conditions.” (National Cancer Survivors Day). Also, breast cancer survivors can have to deal with a heightened fear of reoccurrence, and an alteration of their body image. Additionally, cancer survivors frequently suffer from anxiety, depression, mood disturbance, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), sleep disturbance, fatigue, sexual dysfunction, loss of personal control, impaired quality of life, and psychiatric symptoms which have been found to persist even ten years after remission. So, safe and effective treatments for the symptoms in breast cancer and the physical and psychological effects of the treatments are needed.

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to help with general cancer recovery and breast cancer recovery. Mindfulness helps to alleviate many of the residual physical and psychological symptoms, including stress,  sleep disturbance, and anxiety and depression. The mindfulness practice of Yoga has also been shown to be helpful with the residual symptoms. So, it’s reasonable to further explore the potential benefits of yoga practice for women during and after treatment.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effects of a Yoga Program on Mood States, Quality of Life, and Toxicity in Breast Cancer Patients Receiving Conventional Treatment: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5545947/, Rao and colleagues recruited women diagnosed with stage II or III breast cancer who had undergone surgery and either radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy. They received treatment as usual and were randomly assigned to receive either education and supportive counseling or an integrated yoga program for 24 weeks consisting of 60-min daily sessions either in the clinic or at home of relaxation, breathing exercises, postures, and meditation. They were measured before and after treatment for anxiety, depression, functional levels, treatment related side effects and toxicity, sexuality, body image, and psychological and somatic symptoms.

 

They found that after treatment the yoga group, in comparison to baseline and the control group had significantly lower levels of anxiety, depression, number of treatment produced symptoms, toxicity, symptom severity, and distress, and increases in quality of life. In addition, they found that the greater the regularity of yoga practice, the lower the levels of depression and symptom severity, and the higher the levels of quality of life. In other words, yoga practice markedly relieved the physical and psychological effects of breast cancer treatment.

 

It would have been better if the control group had performed some other form of exercise to determine if it was yoga practice per se or simply exercise was responsible for the results. In addition, since the integrated yoga program contained multiple components it is impossible to differentiate which or which combination of components was effective. Nevertheless, these are remarkable and exciting results that integrated yoga practice can have such profound positive effects on women during and after treatment for breast cancer. Yoga practice appeared to improve both their psychological and physical states and the more the practice the better the results. The diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer are extremely difficult physically and emotionally and it is encouraging that integrated yoga can be used to relieve a degree of the suffering.

 

So, improve psychological and physical state during cancer treatment with yoga.

 

“people with breast cancer found yoga helped to reduce distress, anxiety, depression and tiredness (fatigue). It also helped to improve quality of life, emotional wellbeing and social wellbeing.” – Cancer Research UK

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Rao, R. M., Raghuram, N., Nagendra, H. R., Kodaganur, G. S., Bilimagga, R. S., Shashidhara, H., … Rao, N. (2017). Effects of a Yoga Program on Mood States, Quality of Life, and Toxicity in Breast Cancer Patients Receiving Conventional Treatment: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Indian Journal of Palliative Care, 23(3), 237–246. http://doi.org/10.4103/IJPC.IJPC_92_17

 

Abstract

Aims:

The aim of this study is to compare the effects of yoga program with supportive therapy counseling on mood states, treatment-related symptoms, toxicity, and quality of life in Stage II and III breast cancer patients on conventional treatment.

Methods:

Ninety-eight Stage II and III breast cancer patients underwent surgery followed by adjuvant radiotherapy (RT) or chemotherapy (CT) or both at a cancer center were randomly assigned to receive yoga (n = 45) and supportive therapy counseling (n = 53) over a 24-week period. Intervention consisted of 60-min yoga sessions, daily while the control group was imparted supportive therapy during their hospital visits. Assessments included state-trait anxiety inventory, Beck’s depression inventory, symptom checklist, common toxicity criteria, and functional living index-cancer. Assessments were done at baseline, after surgery, before, during, and after RT and six cycles of CT.

Results:

Both groups had similar baseline scores. There were 29 dropouts 12 (yoga) and 17 (controls) following surgery. Sixty-nine participants contributed data to the current analysis (33 in yoga, and 36 in controls). An ANCOVA, adjusting for baseline differences, showed a significant decrease for the yoga intervention as compared to the control group during RT (first result) and CT (second result), in (i) anxiety state by 4.72 and 7.7 points, (ii) depression by 5.74 and 7.25 points, (iii) treatment-related symptoms by 2.34 and 2.97 points, (iv) severity of symptoms by 6.43 and 8.83 points, (v) distress by 7.19 and 13.11 points, and (vi) and improved overall quality of life by 23.9 and 31.2 points as compared to controls. Toxicity was significantly less in the yoga group (P = 0.01) during CT.

Conclusion:

The results suggest a possible use for yoga as a psychotherapeutic intervention in breast cancer patients undergoing conventional treatment.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5545947/

Improve Cognition after Cancer Recovery with Mindfulness

Improve Cognition after Cancer Recovery with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Mindfulness meditation practices enable cancer survivors to better manage cancer-related cognitive impairment. MBSR provides a creative solution for survivors whose social and occupational functioning may have been negatively impacted by cognitive difficulties.” – Shelly Johns

 

Cognitive impairments are a frequent side effect of cancer treatment. This has been dubbed “chemo brain.” Patients often refer to it as a mental cloudiness. The patients report problems including forgetting things, trouble concentrating, trouble remembering details like names and dates, trouble multi-tasking, like answering the phone while cooking, taking longer to finish things, disorganized and slower thinking, and trouble remembering common words. These cognitive impairments generally produce problems with work and even social relationships such that patients tend to isolate themselves. They can also produce treatment problems as the patients often forget to take their medications.

 

These problems result from the fact that chemotherapy, radiation therapy and many cancer drugs directly affect the nervous system. At present, there are no known treatments for these cognitive impairment side effects of chemotherapy. Contemplative practices have been shown to affect memory and have positive effects on cancer treatment and recovery.  There is some evidence that contemplative practices may be useful for the alleviation of “chemo brain” symptoms. So, it makes sense to further study the ability of mindfulness training to improve the cancer patient’s cognitive abilities.

 

In today’s Research News article “Randomized controlled pilot trial of mindfulness-based stress reduction for breast and colorectal cancer survivors: effects on cancer-related cognitive impairment.” See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4864185/, Johns and colleagues recruited breast cancer and colorectal cancer survivors with moderate fatigue and randomly assigned them to receive either an 8-week, once a week for 2 hours, fatigue education and support or a program of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) with home practice. MBSR contains meditation, yoga, and body scan practices. The participants were measured before and after the 8-week treatment period and 6 months later for attentional function, mindfulness, and cognitive executive function with the Stroop Test.

 

They found that compared to baseline and the fatigue education group, the participants in the MBSR program demonstrated significant improvement in attentional function, including greater effective attentional actions and fewer attentional lapses. Further mediational analysis revealed that MBSR acted by increasing the ability to act with awareness which in turn increased attentional function. In addition, the MBSR group had significantly fewer errors on the Stroop Test indicating better cognitive function.  Importantly, the benefits of the MBSR program were not only significant at the end of training but also 6 months later.

 

These are interesting and potentially important results. The “Chemo Brain” resulting from cancer treatments produces significant degradation in the patient’s cognitive abilities. The results suggest that a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program can significantly produce lasting improvements in these degraded attentional abilities and thinking. MBSR appears to work, at least in part, by increasing the patient’s ability to act with awareness, thereby decreasing distractions and intrusions of off-topic thoughts. Cancer patients have suffered terribly from their disease and the treatments for the disease. It is heartening that a mindfulness practice can be so beneficial in relieving at least residual symptoms of “Chemo Brain.”

 

So, improve cognition after cancer recovery with mindfulness.

 

“Participation in a mindfulness-based stress reduction program yields robust and sustained improvement in cancer-related cognitive impairment, a prevalent and potentially debilitating condition that affects attention, memory and executive function in survivors” – CancerCommons

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Johns, S. A., Von Ah, D., Brown, L. F., Beck-Coon, K., Talib, T. L., Alyea, J. M., … Giesler, R. B. (2016). Randomized controlled pilot trial of mindfulness-based stress reduction for breast and colorectal cancer survivors: effects on cancer-related cognitive impairment. Journal of Cancer Survivorship : Research and Practice, 10(3), 437–448. http://doi.org/10.1007/s11764-015-0494-3

 

Abstract

Purpose

Cancer-related cognitive impairment (CRCI) is a common, fatigue-related symptom that disrupts cancer survivors’ quality of life. Few interventions for CRCI exist. As part of a randomized pilot study targeting cancer-related fatigue, the effects of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) on survivors’ cognitive outcomes were investigated.

Methods

Breast and colorectal cancer survivors (n=71) with moderate-to-severe fatigue were randomized to MBSR (n=35) or a fatigue education and support (ES; n=36) condition. The Attentional Function Index (AFI) and the Stroop test were used to assess survivors’ cognitive function at baseline (T1), after the 8-week intervention period (T2), and 6 months later (T3) using intent-to-treat analysis. Mediation analyses were performed to explore mechanisms of intervention effects on cognitive functioning.

Results

MBSR participants reported significantly greater improvement on the AFI total score compared to ES participants at T2 (d=0.83, p=0.001) and T3 (d=0.55, p=0.021). MBSR also significantly outperformed ES on most AFI subscales, although both groups improved over time. MBSR produced greater Stroop accuracy rates relative to ES at T2 (r=0.340, p=0.005) and T3 (r=0.280, p=0.030), with improved accuracy over time only for the MBSR group. There were no significant differences in Stroop reaction time between groups. Improvements in mindfulness mediated the effect of group (e.g., MBSR vs. ES) on AFI total score at T2 and T3.

Conclusions

Additional randomized trials with more comprehensive cognitive measures are warranted to definitively assess the efficacy of MBSR for CRCI.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4864185/