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Effects of an integrated yoga program in modulating perceived stress levels, anxiety, as well as depression levels and radiation-induced DNA damage were studied in 68 breast cancer patients undergoing radiotherapy. Two psychological questionnaires--Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) and Perceived Stress Scale (PSS)--and DNA damage assay were used in the study. There was a significant decrease in the HADS scores in the yoga intervention group, whereas the control group displayed an increase in these scores. Mean PSS was decreased in the yoga group, whereas the control group did not show any change pre- and postradiotherapy. Radiation-induced DNA damage was significantly elevated in both the yoga and control groups after radiotherapy, but the postradiotherapy DNA damage in the yoga group was slightly less when compared to the control group. An integrated approach of yoga intervention modulates the stress and DNA damage levels in breast cancer patients during radiotherapy.

Objectives. This study compares the effects of an integrated yoga program with brief supportive therapy in breast cancer outpatients undergoing adjuvant radiotherapy at a cancer center. Methods. Eighty-eight stage II and III breast cancer outpatients are randomly assigned to receive yoga (n = 44) or brief supportive therapy (n = 44) prior to radiotherapy treatment. Assessments include diurnal salivary cortisol levels 3 days before and after radiotherapy and self-ratings of anxiety, depression, and stress collected before and after 6 weeks of radiotherapy. Results. Analysis of covariance reveals significant decreases in anxiety (P < .001), depression (P = .002), perceived stress (P < .001), 6 a.m. salivary cortisol (P = .009), and pooled mean cortisol (P = .03) in the yoga group compared with controls. There is a significant positive correlation between morning salivary cortisol level and anxiety and depression. Conclusion. Yoga might have a role in managing self-reported psychological distress and modulating circadian patterns of stress hormones in early breast cancer patients undergoing adjuvant radiotherapy.