Yoga Improves Chronic Fatigue in Breast Cancer Survivors

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YOGA IMPROVES CHRONIC FATIGUE IN BREAST CANCER SURVIVORS

Breast cancer remains the most common serious cancer to afflict women, and the second most common cause of cancer-related death in women (second only to lung cancer).  In 2012, most patients with breast cancer will undergo surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and hormonal therapy as standard treatments for their cancer, and as many as 1 in 3 breast cancer survivors will go on to experience chronic fatigue after completing their extensive therapy for this common disease.

Many interventions have been proposed for chronic post-treatment fatigue in breast cancer survivors, but none of these interventions have been subjected to the scrutiny of high quality, prospective, randomized, controlled clinical research studies to validate their effectiveness.  However, a newly published prospective, randomized, controlled clinical research study suggests that lyengar yoga may be an effective intervention for chronic fatigue following breast cancer treatment.  This new study appears in the current issue of the journal Cancer.

Thirty-one female breast cancer survivors with chronic fatigue were randomized to one of two groups in this study.  Sixteen of these women were randomized to a yoga instruction group for 12 weeks (the “experimental” group), while the other 15 women were randomized to 12 weeks of health education classes (the “control” group).  At the end of the 12-week study period, and again 3 months later, the two groups of women were assessed for changes in fatigue levels (compared to baseline, at the time of their entry into the study); as well as changes in vigor, depressive symptoms, sleep quality, perceived stress levels, and physical performance status.

Following analysis of the data, the authors of this study concluded that 12 weeks of yoga training significantly improved the severity of chronic post-treatment fatigue in breast cancer survivors, when compared to 12 weeks of health education instruction.  (Importantly, this improvement in fatigue levels was maintained for at least 3 months after completion of 12 weeks of yoga classes.)  Additionally, the yoga group experienced significant improvements in physical vigor, when compared to the health education group of women.  At the same time, both groups of women reported improvements in depressive symptoms and perceived stress at the end of this clinical study, while no significant improvements in sleep quality or physical performance status were noted in either group of study participants.

This study is the first prospective, randomized, controlled clinical research study to show that a 12-week intervention with yoga training leads to significant and sustained improvements in chronic fatigue and physical vigor among women who have completed multidisciplinary therapy for breast cancer.  Based upon the findings of this small but important clinical study, breast cancer survivors who are struggling with post-treatment chronic fatigue might want to check out a yoga studio in their neighborhood!


For a groundbreaking overview of cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing cancer, order your copy of my new book, “A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” from AmazonBarnes & NobleBooks-A-MillionVroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores!

On Thanksgiving Day, 2010, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was ranked #6 among all cancer-related books on the Amazon.com “Top 100 Bestseller’s List” for Kindle e-books! On Christmas Day, 2010, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was the #1 book on the Amazon.comTop 100 New Book Releases in Cancer” list!


Disclaimer:  As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity


Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, professor of surgery, cancer researcher, oncology consultant, and a widely published author


For a different perspective on Dr. Wascher, please click on the following YouTube link:

Texas Blues Jam


I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would again like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 100,000 health-conscious people from around the world who visit this premier global health information website every month.  (More than 1.3 million pages of high-quality medical research findings were served to the worldwide audience of health-conscious people who visited Weekly Health Update in 2011!)  As always, we enjoy receiving your stimulating feedback and questions, and I will continue to try and personally answer as many of your inquiries as I possibly can.


 




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Obesity, Diabetes and Breast Cancer Recurrence Risk

 

Welcome to Weekly Health Update


“A critical weekly review of important new research findings for health-conscious readers”


OBESITY, DIABETES AND BREAST CANCER RECURRENCE RISK

 

Obesity and diabetes have both been linked to an increased risk of certain types of cancer (including breast cancer), as discussed in detail in my new book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race.  (The single greatest risk factor for adult-onset diabetes is obesity.)

Not only have obesity and diabetes been strongly linked to an increased risk of developing cancer, but these two chronic illnesses, which have become epidemic in our modern culture, also appear to increase the risk of breast cancer recurrence, and death due to recurrent breast cancer.  Two newly published clinical research studies, which appear in the current issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology, reveal just how strongly obesity and diabetes impact the incidence of breast cancer recurrence, and death due to breast cancer, among women who have previously been diagnosed with this common form of cancer.

In the first study, the impact of obesity on breast cancer recurrence, and the risk of death due to breast cancer, was assessed among 18,967 women with a previous diagnosis of breast cancer in Denmark.   Using body mass index (BMI) scores, which indicate whether a person is obese or not, the findings of this study were quite concerning.  (A BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 indicates a healthy weight, while a BMI of 25 to 29.9 indicates that a person is overweight, and a BMI of 30 or more indicates obesity.)

In this very large public health study with long-term follow-up, female breast cancer survivors with a BMI of 30 or more (when compared to women with a BMI below 25) were, stage-for-stage, 46 percent more likely to be diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer within 10 years of their original diagnosis, and 38 percent more likely to die of metastatic breast cancer within 30 years of their original breast cancer diagnosis.

In the second study, 604 women with a prior diagnosis of breast cancer were evaluated with a blood test that measures insulin secretion levels (serum C-peptide).  Fasting C-peptide levels were measured in these breast cancer survivors 3 years after their initial cancer diagnosis, and this group of research volunteers was then followed for about a decade.  In this study, a 1nanogram per milliliter (ng/mL) increase in serum C-peptide levels, even among women without diabetes, was associated with a 31 percent increase in the risk of death from any cause over the duration of this study.  This same miniscule 1 ng/mL increase in C-peptide blood levels was also associated with a 35 percent increase in the risk of death specifically due to breast cancer.  (The increased risk of death associated with rising C-peptide levels among women with diabetes was even higher.)  Thus, this study is one of the first ever to show that rising levels of insulin secretion in women either with or without diabetes is associated with a significantly higher risk of death due to recurrent breast cancer.

Taken together, the findings of these two very important clinical studies add to the findings of previous studies that have linked both obesity and diabetes with an increased likelihood of breast cancer recurrence and death due to recurrent breast cancer.  These, and other, clinical studies also continue to show that the chemotherapy and hormonal therapy that is routinely given following the diagnosis of breast cancer appears to be less effective in obese women and in diabetic women, when compared to women without either of these chronic illnesses.  The findings of these studies also mirror cancer risk and cancer prevention studies that have linked breast cancer risk with both obesity and diabetes.

If you have a history of breast cancer, and you are significantly overweight, then it is essential that you discuss a prudent weight loss program with your doctor, including a healthy diet and a regimen of regular aerobic exercise (as discussed in my new book).  Likewise, if you have diabetes, both weight loss interventions and tight control of your diabetes are essential for reducing your risk of breast cancer recurrence, and your overall risk of premature death from cancer and other serious illnesses associated with diabetes.

 

For a complete discussion of the role of obesity, diabetes, diet, and exercise in cancer prevention, and other important evidence-based approaches to cancer prevention, order your copy of my new book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, now!  For the price of a cheeseburger, fries, and a shake, you can purchase this landmark new book, in both paperback and e-book formats, and begin living an evidence-based cancer prevention lifestyle today!

 

GIVE  THE  GIFT  OF  HEALTH  THIS  HOLIDAY  SEASON!  For a groundbreaking overview of cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing cancer, order your copy of my new book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Vroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores! 

 

On Thanksgiving Day, 2010, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was ranked #6 among all cancer-related books on the Amazon.comTop 100 Bestseller’s List” for Kindle e-books!  On Christmas Day, 2010, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was the #1 book on the Amazon.comTop 100 New Book Releases in Cancer” list!



Disclaimer: As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity


Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, a professor of surgery, a cancer researcher, an oncology consultant, and a widely published author


For a different perspective on Dr. Wascher, please click on the following YouTube link: 

Texas Blues Jam



I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would again like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 100,000 health-conscious people, from around the world, who visit this premier global health information website every month.  (As of 9/16/2010, more than 1,000,000 health-conscious people had logged onto Weekly Health Update in 2010!)  As always, I enjoy receiving your stimulating feedback and questions, and I will continue to try and personally answer as many of your inquiries as I possibly can.




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