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OBJECTIVES: Fatigue and other treatment-related symptoms (e.g., sleep disturbance) are critical targets for improving quality of life in patients undergoing chemotherapy. Yoga may reduce the burden of such symptoms. This study investigated the feasibility of conducting a randomized controlled study of a brief yoga intervention during chemotherapy for colorectal cancer.DESIGN: We randomized adults with colorectal cancer to a brief Yoga Skills Training (YST) or an attention control (AC; empathic attention and recorded education). SETTING: The interventions and assessments were implemented individually in the clinic while patients were in the chair receiving chemotherapy. INTERVENTIONS: Both interventions consisted of three sessions and recommended home practice. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The primary outcome was feasibility (accrual, retention, adherence, data collection). Self-reported outcomes (i.e., fatigue, sleep disturbance, quality of life) and inflammatory biomarkers were also described to inform future studies. RESULTS: Of 52 patients initially identified, 28 were approached, and 15 enrolled (age Mean = 57.5 years; 80% White; 60% Male). Reasons for declining participation were: not interested (n = 6), did not perceive a need (n = 2), and other (n = 5). Two participants were lost to follow-up in each group due to treatment changes. Thus, 75% of participants were retained in the YST and 71% in the AC arm. Participants retained in the study adhered to 97% of the in-person intervention sessions and completed all questionnaires. CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrated the feasibility of conducting a larger randomized controlled trial to assess YST among patients receiving chemotherapy for colorectal cancer. Data collected and challenges encountered will inform future research.
OBJECTIVE: To conduct a pilot trial of internet-based, cancer-adapted yoga for women receiving breast cancer treatment.DESIGN: Women undergoing radiation or chemotherapy for breast cancer were recruited for 12, 75-min, biweekly, cancer-adapted yoga classes delivered via internet-based, multipoint videoconferencing. Data were collected on feasibility and acceptability, including qualitative feedback from participants and the yoga instructor. RESULTS: Among 42 women approached, 13 declined eligibility screening, and 23 were ineligible. All 6 women who were eligible provided consent, but 2 withdrew prior to beginning yoga classes. The remaining 4 participants attended 1-11 of 12 online yoga classes. In post-intervention interviews, participants and the instructor agreed that internet-based yoga classes hold great potential for increasing access and improving psychological outcomes in adults with cancer. Qualitative feedback from participants revealed suggestions for future trials of internet-based, cancer-adapted yoga classes, including: continued use of group format; offering more varied class times to accommodate patients' demanding schedules and fluctuating symptoms; enrolling patients after they have acclimated to or completed cancer treatment; streamlining the technology interface; and careful attention to participant burden when designing surveys/forms. The instructor recommended closed session courses, as opposed to rolling enrollment; teaching the same modified poses for all participants, rather than individual tailoring; and using a large screen to allow closer monitoring of students' class experience. CONCLUSIONS: Internet delivery may increase patients' access to cancer-adapted yoga classes, but cancer-related and technological barriers remain. This study informs how to optimally design yoga classes, technology, and research procedures to maximize feasibility and acceptability in future trials.
BACKGROUND: Treatment-related symptoms and decreased health-related quality of life (HRQoL) frequently occur during chemotherapy for breast cancer. Although research findings suggest that yoga can reduce symptoms and Improve HRQoL after treatment, potential benefits of yoga during chemotherapy have received minimal attention.OBJECTIVE: To estimate accrual, adherence, study retention, and preliminary efficacy of a yoga intervention compared with an active control group for breast cancer patients during chemotherapy. METHODS: Women with stage I-III breast cancer were recruited from 3 community cancer clinics and randomized to 10 weeks of gentle yoga or wellness education. Depressive symptoms, fatigue, sleep, and HRQoL were assessed at baseline, mid-intervention (Week 5), and after intervention (Week 10). RESULTS: 40 women aged 29-83 years (median, 48 years; 88% white) were randomized to yoga (n = 22) or wellness education (n = 18). The groups did not differ significantly on baseline characteristics, adherence, or study retention. Participant feedback was positive and comparable between groups. Meaningful within-group differences were identified For sleep adequacy and quantity in yoga participants and for somnolence in wellness-education participants. LIMITATIONS: Small sample size and lack of a usual-care control group. CONCLUSIONS: This study established Feasibility of a community-based randomized trial of yoga and an active comparison group for women undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer. Preliminary efficacy estimates suggest that yoga improves sleep adequacy Symptom severity and interference remained stable during chemotherapy for the yoga group and snowed a trend toward increasing in the control group. The study highlighted obstacles to multisite yoga research during cancer treatment. FUNDING/SPONSORSHIP: National Cancer Institute (3U10 CA081851, PI; Shaw; R25 CA122061, PI: Avis); Translational Science Institute, Wake Forest School of Medicine.
OBJECTIVES: This goal of this paper is to describe the reach, application, and effectiveness of an 8-week yoga therapy protocol with older cancer survivors within a Veterans Health Administration setting.METHODS: To document the reach of this intervention, recruitment efforts, attendance, and practice rates were tracked. To explore the application of the protocol to this population, physical therapy preassessment and observations by the yoga therapist were recorded to ascertain necessary pose modifications. Effectiveness was measured through pre- and post-course structured interviews, tracking self-reported symptoms of combat-related posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, fatigue, insomnia, and pain. RESULTS: Regarding reach, 15% of eligible veterans (n = 14) enrolled, participated in 3-16 classes (M±SD = 11.64±3.39), and practiced at home for 0-56 days (M±SD = 26.36±17.87). Participants were primarily Caucasian (n = 13), male (n = 13), ranged in age from 55 to 78 years (M±SD = 65.64±5.15), and had multiple medical problems. During application, substantial individualized modifications to the yoga therapy protocol were necessary. Effectiveness of the intervention was mixed. During post-course interviews, participants reported a variety of qualitative benefits. Notably, the majority of participants reported that breathing and relaxation techniques were the most useful to learn. Group comparisons of mean pre- and post-course scores on standardized measures showed no significant differences. CONCLUSIONS: A minority of older veterans express an interest in yoga, but those who do have high rates of class attendance and home practice. Careful physical pre-assessment and attentive therapists are required to undertake the adaptations required by participants with multiple comorbidities. The effectiveness of yoga in this setting requires additional study.
Objectives: Restorative yoga (RY) is a gentle type of yoga that may be beneficial for cancer patients and post-treatment survivors. Study goals were: to determine the feasibility of implementing a RY intervention for women with breast cancer; and to examine group differences in self-reported emotional, health-related quality of life, and symptom outcomes. Methods: Women with breast cancer (n = 44; mean age 55.8 years) enrolled in this study; 34% were actively undergoing cancer treatment. Study participants were randomized to the intervention (10 weekly 75-minute RY classes) or a waitlist control group. Participants completed questionnaires at Week 0 (baseline) and Week 10 (immediately post-intervention for the yoga group). Results: Group differences favoring the yoga group were seen for mental health, depression, positive affect, and spirituality (peace/meaning). Significant baseline * group interactions were observed for negative affect and emotional well-being. Women with higher negative affect and lower emotional well-being at baseline derived greater benefit from the yoga intervention compared to those with similar values at baseline in the control group. The yoga group demonstrated a significant within-group improvement in fatigue; no significant difference was noted for the control group. Conclusions: Although limited by sample size, these pilot data suggest potential benefit of RY on emotional outcomes and fatigue in cancer patients. This study demonstrates that a RY intervention is feasible for women with breast cancer; implications for study design and implementation are noted with an emphasis on program adoption and participant adherence. Copyright (C) 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
PURPOSE: Reviews of yoga research that distinguish results of trials conducted during (versus after) cancer treatment are needed to guide future research and clinical practice. We therefore conducted a review of non-randomized studies and randomized controlled trials of yoga interventions for children and adults undergoing treatment for any cancer type.METHODS: Studies were identified via research databases and reference lists. Inclusion criteria were the following: (1) children or adults undergoing cancer treatment, (2) intervention stated as yoga or component of yoga, and (3) publication in English in peer-reviewed journals through October 2015. Exclusion criteria were the following: (1) samples receiving hormone therapy only, (2) interventions involving meditation only, and (3) yoga delivered within broader cancer recovery or mindfulness-based stress reduction programs. RESULTS: Results of non-randomized (adult n = 8, pediatric n = 4) and randomized controlled trials (adult n = 13, pediatric n = 0) conducted during cancer treatment are summarized separately by age group. Findings most consistently support improvement in psychological outcomes (e.g., depression, distress, anxiety). Several studies also found that yoga enhanced quality of life, though further investigation is needed to clarify domain-specific efficacy (e.g., physical, social, cancer-specific). Regarding physical and biomedical outcomes, evidence increasingly suggests that yoga ameliorates sleep and fatigue; additional research is needed to advance preliminary findings for other treatment sequelae and stress/immunity biomarkers. CONCLUSIONS: Among adults undergoing cancer treatment, evidence supports recommending yoga for improving psychological outcomes, with potential for also improving physical symptoms. Evidence is insufficient to evaluate the efficacy of yoga in pediatric oncology. We describe suggestions for strengthening yoga research methodology to inform clinical practice guidelines.
Empirical research suggests that yoga may positively influence the negative psychosocial and physical side effects associated with cancer and its treatment. The translation of these findings into sustainable, evidence-informed yoga programming for cancer survivors has lagged behind the research. This article provides (a) an overview of the yoga and cancer research, (b) a framework for successfully developing and delivering yoga to cancer populations, and (c) an example of a successful community-based program. The importance of continued research and knowledge translation efforts in the context of yoga and integrative oncology are highlighted.
Limited research suggests yoga may be a viable gentle physical activity option with a variety of health-related quality of life, psychosocial and symptom management benefits. The purpose of this review was to determine the clinical significance of patient-reported outcomes from yoga interventions conducted with cancer survivors. A total of 25 published yoga intervention studies for cancer survivors from 2004-2011 had patient-reported outcomes, including quality of life, psychosocial or symptom measures. Thirteen of these studies met the necessary criteria to assess clinical significance. Clinical significance for each of the outcomes of interest was examined based on 1 standard error of the measurement, 0.5 standard deviation, and relative comparative effect sizes and their respective confidence intervals. This review describes in detail these patient-reported outcomes, how they were obtained, their relative clinical significance and implications for both clinical and research settings. Overall, clinically significant changes in patient-reported outcomes suggest that yoga interventions hold promise for improving cancer survivors' well-being. This research overview provides new directions for examining how clinical significance can provide a unique context for describing changes in patient-reported outcomes from yoga interventions. Researchers are encouraged to employ indices of clinical significance in the interpretation and discussion of results from yoga studies.