December 11, 2007 - A new study funded by the National Cancer Institute is examining the role that yoga may play in bettering the immune system of women with breast cancer.

It's been around for more than 5,000 years, and still, yoga is one of the fastest growing fitness programs in the country. Those who do it will tell you yoga can make you stronger and more flexible. Could it be doing more than that? Some believe yoga might even bolster the immune system in women who are battling breast cancer. To find out if that's a stretch, scientists are now weighing in.

Even though she's been doing yoga for 20 years and teaching for nine, Linda Oshins says she got into it almost accidentally. Doctors removed a breast because of cancer and Linda originally went to yoga class so she could get back into the swimming pool.

"I went to regain mobility in my arm so that I could swim and realized that yoga was helping me through the fear and stress," said Oshins.

Suddenly, Linda says she was not only feeling better, she believed she was getting better. The yoga was relieving stress and exhaustion, which are common complaints of women coping with cancer.

"The consequences of treatment or just having the cancer itself, the emotional stress of it all can affect health," said Charles Shapiro, MD, at Ohio State University's James Cancer Hospital.

Can yoga really make that big of a difference? Dr. Janice Kiecolt-Glaser of Ohio State University Medical Center wants to find out. She and her colleagues are enlisting some 250 women with breast cancer to take yoga classes to measure their impact. Even if those women report feeling better, scientists want to take that a step further, by taking evidence to the lab.

"We're going to be looking at blood - before, after, and then three months after that. We want to see what yoga actually does in terms of altering the immune response and affecting fatigue as well," said Kiecolt-Glaser.

By measuring stress hormones in the blood, researchers will see what kind of scientific impact yoga can have on physical health. In the meantime, Linda will keep teaching her class - certain of the role yoga already plays in her emotional health.

Women in the study will go through two 90-minute yoga classes every week and will continue doing yoga at home after their classes are done. Scientists will test them throughout to see how their bodies are reacting. The study is being funded by the National Cancer Institute.

For more information: and

Related Content

News | Interventional Radiology

Varian announced it has signed an asset purchase agreement to acquire the Boston Scientific portfolio of drug-loadable microsphere and bland embolic bead products for treating arteriovenous malformations and hypervascular tumors. When completed, this acquisition, in combination with the recent acquisitions of Endocare and Alicon, will expand Varian's portfolio of multidisciplinary integrated cancer care solutions.

Time July 03, 2019
Technology | Focused Ultrasound Therapy

Insightec announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved an expansion of the indication of Exablate Neuro to include the treatment of patients with tremor-dominant Parkinson's disease (PD).

Time December 21, 2018
Videos | Radiation Oncology

Genomics can be used to assess a patient's radiosensitivity, which can be used to increase or decrease the radiation ...

Time November 06, 2018
News | Radiation Dose Management

AngioDynamics Inc. announced an agreement to acquire RadiaDyne, a privately held medical diagnostic and device company that designs and develops patient dose monitoring technology to improve cancer treatment outcomes.

Time September 24, 2018
News | Radiation Oncology

World Cancer Day takes place annually on Feb. 4 to raise awareness and education in the media, governments and people ...

Time February 01, 2018
News | Oncology Related Products

December 19, 2016 — Children’s National Health System and Celsion Corp. announced in November the launch of a clinical ...

Time December 19, 2016
News | Clinical Decision Support

October 27, 2016 — The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) continues to build its library of appropriate use ...

Time October 27, 2016
News | Ultrasound Imaging

September 12, 2016 — Tiny microbubbles are being used to more effectively identify liver tumors, according to a study ...

Time September 12, 2016
Feature | Cardio-oncology | Dave Fornell

Cardio-oncology is an emerging field that combines the expertise of both cardiology and oncology to assess and treat ...

Time May 13, 2016
News | Oncology Related Products

May 6, 2016 — After breast cancer surgery, women are prescribed adjuvant (or follow-up) therapies such as chemotherapy ...

Time May 06, 2016
Subscribe Now