Learning how to relax may help save the lives of women with
breast cancer. Researchers at Ohio State University in Columbus studied 115 women with Stage II or Stage III breast cancer.
Half of the women were enrolled in a psychological intervention program that taught muscle relaxation and the importance of regular exercise and a healthy diet. The other half of the study group received no intervention.
Women who went through the intervention program showed lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol and higher levels of an antibody known to fight breast cancer tumors.
The study also found women who did not go through the
program experienced more severe nausea and vomiting after
receiving their chemotherapy dosage than women who did
participate in the program.
Lead researcher Barbara Andersen, a professor of psychology, concluded the intervention program helped the women tolerate their chemotherapy better so they could stay on track and receive the full dosage.
Anderson says the patients who learned stress reduction techniques also reported a better quality of life and lower levels of depression.
Researchers point out antibody levels dropped in both
groups of women because they were undergoing the stressful
experience of chemotherapy.
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