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OBJECTIVES: Life-threatening diseases such as cancer represent unique traumas-compared with singular, time-limited traumatic events-given their multidimensional, uncertain, and continuing nature. However, few studies have examined the impact of cancer on patients as a persistent stressor. The aim of this qualitative study is to explore patients' ongoing experiences of living with cancer and the changes encountered in this experience over time.METHODS: Written reflections to three open-ended questions collected from 28 patients on their experience of cancer at two time points were analyzed to explore participants' experiences and perspectives over time. Content analysis using a framework approach was employed to code, categorize, and summarize data into a thematic framework. RESULTS: Data analysis yielded the thematic framework-living with paradox, consisting of four interrelated themes: sources, experiences, resolution of paradox, and challenges with medical culture/treatment. The primary theme concerned moving through a dualistic and complex cancer experience of concurrently negative and positive emotional states across the course of cancer. CONCLUSIONS: Respondents indicated that cycling through this contradictory trajectory was neither linear, nor singular, nor conclusive in nature, but reiterative across time. Recognition that patients' cancer experience may be paradoxical and tumultuous throughout the cancer trajectory can influence how practitioners provide patients with needed support during diagnosis, treatment, and recovery. This also has implications for interventions, treatment, and care plans, and adequately responding to the diversity of patient's psychosocial, physical, existential, and spiritual experience of illness.
Background. Complementary and integrative health approaches such as yoga provide support for psychosocial health. We explored the effects of group-based yoga classes offered through an integrative medicine center at a comprehensive cancer center. Methods. Patients and caregivers had access to two yoga group classes: a lower intensity (YLow) or higher intensity (YHigh) class. Participants completed the Edmonton Symptom Assessment System (ESAS; scale 0-10, 10 most severe) immediately before and after the class. ESAS subscales analyzed included global (GDS; score 0-90), physical (PHS; 0-60), and psychological distress (PSS; 0-20). Data were analyzed examining pre-yoga and post-yoga symptom scores using paired t-tests and between types of classes using ANOVAs. Results. From July 18, 2016, to August 8, 2017, 282 unique participants (205 patients, 77 caregivers; 85% female; ages 20-79 years) attended one or more yoga groups (mean 2.3). For all participants, we observed clinically significant reduction/improvement in GDS, PHS, and PSS scores and in symptoms (ESAS decrease >= 1; means) of anxiety, fatigue, well-being, depression, appetite, drowsiness, and sleep. Clinically significant improvement for both patients and caregivers was observed for anxiety, depression, fatigue, well-being, and all ESAS subscales. Comparing yoga groups, YLow contributed to greater improvement in sleep versus YHigh (-1.33 vs -0.50, P = .054). Improvement in fatigue for YLow was the greatest mean change (YLow -2.12). Conclusion. A single yoga group class resulted in clinically meaningful improvement of multiple self-reported symptoms. Further research is needed to better understand how yoga class content, intensity, and duration can affect outcomes.