Breathing exercises in cancer

The onset of most diseases, cancer in particular, is closely linked to a lack of oxygen in the body. Hypoxia plays a key role in the pathobiology of all cancers, with cancer being the second leading cause of death in the world (1).
Breathing exercises are one of the most well-known and effective Chinese medical tradition-inspired cancer-fighting support programs. Breathing exercises regulate oxygen-carbon dioxide homeostasis and improve hyperventilation in both healthy people and cancer patients. Many cancer patients in China practice breathing exercises alongside conventional therapies, which has a major impact on their survival rate.
For example, lung cancer and nasopharyngeal carcinoma are fatal respiratory diseases that compromise aerobic respiration. In such cases, a breathing training program has been shown to improve the chances of overall long-term survival. A 2017 clinical study [2] found that people who practiced breathing exercises had a greater survival rate than those who did not. Accordingly, those who undertook breathing exercises had a 5-year survival rate of 56.6%, while non-exercisers had a rate of 19.6%. For those who regularly practiced breathing exercises, the probability of survival increased 17.9-fold for the 10-year survival rate. Consequently, as breathing exercises improve hyperventilation, they may enhance long-term survival rates in people with lung cancer or nasopharyngeal carcinoma.
Additionally, patients undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer may benefit greatly from performing breathing and relaxation exercises (a 5-minute routine intended to be done twice a day). [3]
Generally speaking, chemotherapy is frequently associated with side effects such as sleep disorders, stress, anxiety, fatigue, and a poor quality of life. Despite the many advances in cancer treatment, the management of adverse effects is far from effective. Chemotherapy-related symptoms can be lessened by using simple, inexpensive, and side effect-free behavioral changes such as breathing exercises, which can improve the patient's overall quality of life.
(1) Zegers CM, van Elmpt W, Reymen B, et al In vivo quantification of hypoxic and metabolic status of NSCLC tumors using [18F]HX4 and [18F]FDG-PET/CT imaging. Clin Cancer Res 2014;20:6389–97. Hui EP, Chan AT, Pezzella F, et al Coexpression of hypoxia-inducible factors 1alpha and 2alpha, carbonic anhydrase IX, and vascular endothelial growth factor in nasopharyngeal carcinoma and relationship to survival. Clin Cancer Res 2002;8:2595–604.
(2) Wu, Wei-Jie MBa; Wang, Shan-Huan MBa,b; Ling, Wei MDa; Geng, Li-Jun MPhila; Zhang, Xiao-Xi PhDa; Yu, Lan MPhila,c; Chen, Jun MPhila,c; Luo, Jiang-Xi MDa,c; Zhao, Hai-Lu PhDa,*: Morning breathing exercises prolong lifespan by improving hyperventilation in people living with respiratory cancer. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000005838
(3) W. Dhillon, N. Abd Al-Noor, A. Gill, N. Gupta, V. DeBari, G. Guron, M. Maroules; Impact of Deep Breathing and Relaxation Exercises on Health Related Quality of Life in Breast Cancer Patients Receiving Chemotherapy. Cancer Res 15 December 2009; 69 (24_Supplement): 3101.