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<p>Little attention has been paid to the psychological determinants by which benefits are accrued via yoga practice in cancer-related clinical settings. Using a longitudinal multilevel modeling approach, associations between affect, mindfulness, and patient-reported mental health outcomes, including mood disturbance, stress symptoms, and health-related quality of life (HRQL), were examined in an existing seven-week yoga program for cancer survivors. Participants (N = 66) were assessed before and after the yoga program and at three- and six-month follow-ups. Decreases in mood disturbance and stress symptoms and improvements in HRQL were observed upon program completion. Improvements in mood disturbance and stress symptoms were maintained at the three- and six-month follow-ups. HRQL exhibited further improvement at the three-month follow-up, which was maintained at the six-month follow-up. Improvements in measures of well-being were predicted by initial positive yoga beliefs and concurrently assessed affective and mindfulness predictor variables. Previous yoga experience, affect, mindfulness, and HRQL were related to yoga practice maintenance over the course of the study.</p>
The use of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) programmes has become increasingly common in many healthcare settings over the last decade. However, the use and indications for MBSR in an oncology setting has not been well explicated. This paper provides an overview of the psychosocial challenges of cancer diagnosis, treatment and recovery, followed by a description of how MBSR programmes have and may be used with cancer populations, using our programme in Calgary, Canada, as an exemplar.Research investigating the use of MBSR shows significant improvements in mood, decreased stress symptoms, and normalisation of hormonal and immune function. MBSR has also been shown to be effective for decreasing the high levels of sleep disturbance often found in cancer patients. An instrument to measure levels of mindfulness, the Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS), has been developed and validated for use with cancer patients. Issues germane to working with this population such as considerations during patient screening for the MBSR programme and facilitatory training are discussed. Finally, the use of research designs such as dismantling studies and qualitative methods are considered.
Quantitative research has shown Mindfulness‐based Stress Reduction (MBSR) programmes can reduce mood disturbance, improve quality of life, and decrease stress symptoms of cancer patients. However, the range of subjective effects experienced by programme participants has not been clearly described. Nine cancer patients who had participated in an 8‐week MBSR programme through the Tom Baker Cancer Centre's Department of Psychosocial Resources, and who continued to attend weekly drop‐in MBSR sessions were interviewed for this study. Qualitative research was conducted using grounded theory analysis. Data from semi‐structured interviews and a focus group were analysed using QSR N6 software to identify themes concerning the effects patients experienced by adding meditation to their lives. Five major themes emerged from the data: (1) opening to change; (2) self‐control; (3) shared experience; (4) personal growth; (5) spirituality. This information was used to develop specific theory concerning mechanisms whereby MBSR effects change for cancer patients. These understandings may be used to refine and further develop MBSR programmes to better assist patients during cancer diagnosis, treatment and recovery.
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.
Objective. A qualitative research methods approach was used to explore the experiences of participants in an ongoing community-based yoga program developed for cancer survivors and their support persons. Methods. 25 participants took part in a series of semistructured focus groups following a seven-week yoga program and at three- and six-month follow-ups. Focus groups were transcribed verbatim and analyzed using a process of inductive thematic analysis. Results. The group was comprised of 20 cancer survivors, who were diagnosed on average 25.40 (20.85) months earlier, and five support persons. Participants had completed the yoga program an average of 3.35 (3.66) times previously and attended approximately 1.64 (0.70) of three possible focus groups. Four key themes were identified: (1) safety and shared understanding; (2) cancer-specific yoga instruction; (3) benefits of yoga participation; (4) mechanisms of yoga practice. Conclusions. Qualitative research provides unique and in-depth insight into the yoga experience. Specifically, cancer survivors and support persons participating in a community-based yoga program discussed their experiences of change over time and were acutely aware of the beneficial effects of yoga on their physical, psychological, and social well-being. Further, participants were able to articulate the mechanisms they perceived as underpinning the relationship between yoga and improved well-being as they developed their yoga practice.