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Yoga improves quality of life for breast cancer patients

Written by Community Health Network on 3/10/2014 10:00:00 AM

New research from the MD Anderson Cancer Center™ finds that yoga can improve quality of life for women undergoing radiation treatment for breast cancer.

Already known to help with fatigue, the research shows that the benefits of yoga may extend far beyond that.

The researchers split more than 191 participants into three groups: a yoga group who focused on all aspects of the exercise, a group that just used stretching techniques from yoga, and a control group.

It was found that the simple stretching exercises counteract fatigue, but patients who participated in yoga exercises that incorporated controlled breathing, meditation and relaxation techniques into their treatment plan also experienced improved ability to engage in their daily activities, better general health, and better regulation of cortisol (stress hormone).

Yoga helps breast cancer patients manage illness and treatment

Women in the yoga group were also better equipped to find meaning in the illness experience, which declined over time for the women in the other two groups.

“Combining mind and body practices that are part of yoga clearly have tremendous potential to help patients manage the psychosocial and physical difficulties associated with treatment and life after cancer, beyond the benefits of simple stretching,” said Dr. Lorenzo Cohen, professor and director of the Integrative Medicine Program at MD Anderson.

To learn more about the benefits of yoga for breast cancer patients and survivors, read this post.

Source: MDAnderson.org


Radiation therapy: Zeroing in on cancer

Written by Community Health Network on 2/8/2014 10:30:00 AM

This is the first blog in a three-part interview series with Dr. Chandrika Patel, radiation oncologist. She is board certified in radiation oncology by the American Board of Radiology and a MD Anderson Cancer Network™ certified physician at Community Regional Cancer Center - East.

What is radiation therapy?

Radiation therapy is treatment where beams of high-energy rays are used to target and destroy cancer cells. Radiation oncologists specialize in treating cancer patients with it. Radiation therapy is not like chemotherapy. Radiation treats just the tumor. Chemo uses drugs to treat the whole body.

Because of the precision and versatility with which these treatments are delivered, over 66 percent of cancer patients will have some form of radiotherapy as part of their treatment. It may be given at different times in cancer treatment, dependent upon the cancer type. Sometimes it is used to shrink a tumor, or used after a surgery to kill areas the surgery missed.

Are there different types of radiation therapy?

Depending on the type of cancer you have, you may be treated with high-dose rate (HDR) radiotherapy. This treatment uses higher amounts of radiation than in typical radiation therapy. The radiation is directed precisely at the tumor to avoid damaging healthy tissue, with the advantage that it may kill more cancer cells in fewer treatments.

In contrast, low dose rate radiation brachytherapy, is a different way to deliver radiation. Low dose radiation is commonly used for prostate cancer treatments, and involves implanting a radioactive “seed” in the body permanently to damage the cancer cells. This allows application of a higher dose of radiation for a shorter period of time to a small area. continue reading ...


Refuel like an Olympian before your next cancer treatment

Written by Community Health Network on 2/7/2014 12:30:00 PM

Cancer treatments can leave you fatigued and physically drained. What can you do to re-energize? If we think of food as fuel, then what we eat will make a difference. Like the Olympians in Sochi who use food to fuel for performance, cancer patients must also use food for fuel. You can use your diet to help prepare your body to fight the disease.

Here are five tips for making fueling post-treatment delicious, easy and healthy.

Eat breakfast.

Whether you are a figure skater, bobsledder or cancer patient, breakfast is important. Blood sugar is at its lowest levels in the morning, so eating easy-to-digest carbohydrates like whole-grain toast or oatmeal will help you get a good start. You’ll get your metabolism working and start the day off energized.

Stay hydrated.

Drink water. As a cancer care patient, you’re going to be juggling the side effects from chemo and radiation therapies. Drinking water is always recommended, especially to help prevent constipation, diarrhea, dry mouth, and nausea.

You can also try jazzing it up with a spritz of lemon or citrus flavors. Try this citrus-infused water recipe >>

Avoid diet extremes.

Being treated for cancer may mean you need extra calories and protein to keep your strength up. But this can be hard when appetite is low and some foods aren’t tolerable. continue reading ...


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