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BACKGROUND The current randomized trial examined the effects of a Tibetan yoga program (TYP) versus a stretching program (STP) and usual care (UC) on sleep and fatigue in women with breast cancer who were undergoing chemotherapy. METHODS Women with stage (American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) TNM) I to III breast cancer who were undergoing chemotherapy were randomized to TYP (74 women), STP (68 women), or UC (85 women). Participants in the TYP and STP groups participated in 4 sessions during chemotherapy, followed by 3 booster sessions over the subsequent 6 months, and were encouraged to practice at home. Self-report measures of sleep disturbances (Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index), fatigue (Brief Fatigue Inventory), and actigraphy were collected at baseline; 1 week after treatment; and at 3, 6, and 12 months. RESULTS There were no group differences noted in total sleep disturbances or fatigue levels over time. However, patients in the TYP group reported fewer daily disturbances 1 week after treatment compared with those in the STP (difference, -0.43; 95% confidence interval [95% CI], -0.82 to -0.04 [P = .03]) and UC (difference, -0.41; 95% CI, -0.77 to -0.05 [P = .02]) groups. Group differences at the other time points were maintained for TYP versus STP. Actigraphy data revealed greater minutes awake after sleep onset for patients in the STP group 1 week after treatment versus those in the TYP (difference, 15.36; 95% CI, 7.25-23.48 [P = .0003]) and UC (difference, 14.48; 95% CI, 7.09-21.87 [P = .0002]) groups. Patients in the TYP group who practiced at least 2 times a week during follow-up reported better Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index and actigraphy outcomes at 3 months and 6 months after treatment compared with those who did not and better outcomes compared with those in the UC group. CONCLUSIONS Participating in TYP during chemotherapy resulted in modest short-term benefits in sleep quality, with long-term benefits emerging over time for those who practiced TYP at least 2 times a week. Cancer 2018;124:36-45. © 2017 American Cancer Society.
This study examined the effects of yoga on quality of life (QOL) and psychosocial outcomes in women with breast cancer undergoing radiotherapy. Sixty-one women were randomly assigned to either a yoga or a wait-list group. Yoga classes were taught biweekly during the 6 weeks of radiotherapy. Participants completed measures of QOL, fatigue, benefit finding (finding meaning in the cancer experience), intrusive thoughts, sleep disturbances, depressive symptoms, and anxiety before radiotherapy and then again 1 week, 1 month, and 3 months after the end of radiotherapy. General linear model analyses revealed that compared to the control group, the yoga group reported significantly better general health perception (p = .005) and physical functioning scores (p = .04) 1 week postradiotherapy; higher levels of intrusive thoughts 1 month postradiotherapy (p = .01); and greater benefit finding 3 months postradiotherapy (p = .01). There were no other group differences in other QOL subscales for fatigue, depression, or sleep scores. Exploratory analyses indicated that intrusive thoughts 1 month after radiotherapy were significantly positively correlated with benefit finding 3 months after radiotherapy (r = .36, p = .011). Our results indicated that the yoga program was associated with statistically and clinically significant improvements in aspects of QOL.