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  • InduQin

Cancer survivors, former drug abuser discover yoga’s healing qualities

Anyone who has been given a cancer diagnosis will likely experience extreme anxiety. Heightened stress levels weaken the body’s immune response and lower the pain threshold, impeding its response to treatment and recovery. The physical and mental side effects of surgery, radiation and chemotherapy used to treat cancer can also be debilitating.

A potential way to counter this is through practising yoga.

Cheng Ying-lan was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer in 2017. Lan underwent chemotherapy for 18 weeks, and had a mastectomy, the surgical removal of her right breast. Radiotherapy followed.

“The first thing that I felt when I heard the words ‘breast cancer’ was fear. Fear that I would not survive, fear of the debilitating treatments I would have to endure, fear of the ensuing side effects and the impact on my mental health,” recalls 75-year-old Cheng.

In 2018, the Hong Kong Breast Cancer Foundation (HKBCF) introduced Cheng to yoga. “I had no idea about the impact that yoga could have for a cancer patient until I went through it myself,” she says. Cheng’s chest and shoulders were extremely stiff and sore after surgery and radiation therapy. “I was unable to lift my right arm and touch my back. Now I am able to lift both of my arms and comfortably place them on my lower back. I never thought I would be able to do this,” she says.


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