Report on Progress Against Cancer: Yoga Beneficial to Patients, Survivors

Cancer patients aren’t just fighting to stay alive—they’re also wrestling with the side effects of chemotherapy, as well as high incidences of depression, insomnia and other conditions that affect quality of life. But a recent study showed that cancer survivors who underwent a four-week yoga program experienced less fatigue, better sleep and an overall improved sense of well-being.

The psychological toll of cancer isn’t well publicized, but many patients and survivors suffer from long-lasting emotional wounds. Three-quarters of cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy suffer from insomnia (nearly three times the rate in the general population), and at least 65 percent of cancer survivors continue to report sleep problems after their course of chemotherapy is over.

More and more research supports the theory that yoga can demonstrably improve the quality of life for cancer patients and survivors alike. In fact, the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s annual report on the progress against cancer said that patients who add palliative care (treatment that works on reducing the severity of symptoms) like yoga to their routines live long and better than those who focus solely on fighting the disease and improving their physical well-being.

Many yoga instructors offer special classes and workshops that are specifically designed for yoga for cancer.  They are often run out of hospitals or community centers, and are tailored specifically for the mental and emotional challenges that cancer patients and survivors face.

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