Will yoga prevent a cancer recurrence?
Kathy Miller: A 10-year survivor, Kathy is concerned about recurrence and the effects of radiation from frequent mammograms.
Kathy asked Tari: I am confused by the current controversy over mammograms. Are they a preventative measure or not? If used to prevent cancer, I am concerned about the long-term effect of exposure to radiation. Surely, diet, exercise, good support systems all helpful in prevention. What about yoga?
Tari Answered: Thank you for asking me this question. I hope the answer will be helpful to many who do not understand what the current research and media coverage has been. Both are causing confusion for women. Your question is very valid and gives me an opportunity to promote my favorite topic: Yoga as a life long prescription.
The current controversy and discussions about the new guidelines on mammograms issued by the Preventive Services Task Force has covered a lot of newspaper space. In addition there were reports about vaccines and ‘pills’ that prevent cancer, specifically cervical and prostate cancers. Buried in the reporting, editorials and reader comments was another article on prevention. It had to do with theories about what we can do to protect ourselves from a cancer or cancer recurrence by making lifestyle changes. This approach gathers little support or interest from drug companies and even the government research initiatives.
About the Preventive Task Force recommendation, I think it is important to put it in perspective and understand the language. It was guidance for women and doctors. The decision to have mammograms was properly left to each woman.
Perhaps the confusion is in the word prevention. That word gets confused with risk reduction. Mammograms don’t prevent cancer. They identify a possibility that cancer exists. Where as, proper diet and exercise CAN reduce the risks. And who knows what really prevents cancer?
This is where yoga comes in. Adding yoga to your week, day and life can be as important as a mammogram, a vaccine or a pill. Yoga can help you reduce your risk by keeping your immune system strong and cultivating an environment in your body that is cancer resistant and healthy. When will they research and talk about the benefits of yoga?
I suggest you read the following article:
- By Gina Kolata
- Published: November 12, 2009
“Cancer steals your breath. Yoga gives it back.”