Australian researchers will investigate whether yoga can assist women
living with lymphoedema after breast cancer treatment.
They hope that yoga practice incorporating movement, breathing and
meditation will reduce the symptoms of lymphoedema by helping lymph to
flow through the lymphatic vessels. It is also thought breathing
exercises and meditation practices will help reduce stress and enhance
The study is being run as a UniSA
Division of Health Sciences
Honours degree project, supervised by
Dr Maarten Immink, in partnership with Professor Neil Piller from
Flinders Medical Centre's
Lymphoedema Assessment Clinic.
Honours student Ms Jan Douglass, who is also a lymphoedema therapist,
says lymphoedema currently affects at least 25 to 30 per cent of women
who are treated for breast cancer. However, she says researchers believe
up to 50 per cent of women treated for breast cancer could be suffering
lymphoedema symptoms without being officially diagnosed.
"Women living with lymphoedema after breast cancer therapy not only have
an enlarged arm, but it impacts on their daily lives," Ms Douglass says.
"They lose range of movement and muscle tone, so they can't pick up
their grandchildren or hang out the washing or even reach behind their
head to brush the back of their hair. Another issue is the effect on
self image ... you have this enlarged arm and it's hard to buy clothes
and wear short sleeves."
Ms Douglass hopes her yoga project may provide some relief for women who
live with lymphoedema for the rest of their lives after breast cancer
She says this will be the first breast cancer lymphoedema study using
Source: University Of South Australia http://www.unisa.edu.au/news/2010/160810.asp