New research suggests that a gentle form of yoga specifically designed for cancer survivors, called Yoga for Cancer Survivors (Yocas), can enhance their chances of survival and reduce the risk of cancer recurrence. Although the study is awaiting peer review, it focused on assessing the impact of Yocas on inflammation markers associated with cancer in the body.
Yocas involves a type of yoga known as “hatha yoga” and is tailored to meet the needs of cancer survivors. Inflammation, whether acute or chronic, has been linked to cancer development, progression, and the adverse effects of anti-cancer drugs, ultimately affecting the overall survival of individuals battling the disease.
According to the research, walking for half an hour daily can also help alleviate fatigue in cancer patients. However, the effectiveness of non-pharmaceutical interventions, such as yoga and exercise, in combating inflammation remains uncertain, as stated by Karen Mustian from the University of Rochester Medical Center and her fellow researchers.
In a recent clinical trial presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, scientists compared the effects of Yocas to a placebo on inflammation markers in cancer survivors. The study enrolled over 500 participants and randomly assigned them to either the Yocas group or the placebo group.
The Yocas group engaged in 75 minutes of hatha yoga twice a week for four weeks, led by certified health professionals. In contrast, the placebo group participated in a similar health education program based on survivorship recommendations. Researchers collected serum samples from the participants before and after the interventions to evaluate inflammation markers.
The results indicated significantly lower levels of overall inflammation in the Yocas group compared to the placebo group. Based on these findings, researchers recommend hatha yoga as part of Yocas for cancer survivors who experience inflammation.
Another study conducted by University of Rochester researchers and presented at the conference revealed that a home-based exercise prescription can improve outcomes in cancer patients.
In conclusion, the researchers suggest that oncologists should consider prescribing Yocas yoga to survivors dealing with inflammation, as it may reduce the chronic toxicity burden and minimize the risk of cancer progression, recurrence, and secondary malignancies.