Jacobs Journal of Cancer Science and Research

Randomized Controlled Trial on the Effectiveness of Yoga in Breast Cancer Patients Receiving Adjuvant Radiation and/or Chemotherapy Following Breast Surgery

*Karen Wonders
Department Of Health And Kinesiology, Wright State University , United States

*Corresponding Author:
Karen Wonders
Department Of Health And Kinesiology, Wright State University , United States

Published on: 2016-07-08


The purpose of this investigation was to examine the effect of yoga on improvements in range of motion and muscular strength in women with stage I or II breast cancer receiving adjuvant radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy following breast surgery, and compare these values to a traditional resistance training program. A total of 77 newly diagnosed stage II and III breast cancer patients undergoing surgery followed by adjuvant radiation and/or chemotherapy participated in this investigation. Participants were randomized into an intervention group (yoga) and control group (traditional strength training). Each program took place following surgery, and during adjuvant therapy. The program lasted for 8 weeks. Measurements of muscular strength and upper body range of motion were measured pre- and post-8-week session. Both groups in this investigation reported improvements in muscular strength and flexibility. Statistical analyses revealed a greater increase in muscular strength and flexibility in the yoga group, compared to controls. Overall, this study supports the practice of yoga in recovery from breast cancer surgery.




Historically, individuals battling breast cancer were advised by their physicians to avoid any type of strenuous exercise. They were directed to save their strength for the negative effects brought on by their treatments, which were often either surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation; or a combination of the three. Complications during surgery can result in bleeding, damage to neighboring tissue, reaction to anesthesia, and damage to other organs. After surgery, side effects include pain, infections, bleeding, blood clots, and slow recovery of other body functions. Negative effects from chemotherapy or radiation may include fatigue, skin irritation at the site of the therapy, fever and chills, sore mouth, dry mouth, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, change in appetite, pain or difficulty swallowing, soreness of the breast, and headaches. Chemotherapy can also produce constipation, loss of appetite, edema in the hands or feet, allergic reaction, itching, shortness of breath, cough, muscle or joint pain, and numbness or tingling in hands or feet. These side effects may be immediate, long-term, beginning after treatment and continuing for an extended amount of time, or late-term, beginning months after the treatment has been completed. Medications given to control these symptoms often come with their own set of possible side effects as well.