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PURPOSE: Cancer-related fatigue (CRF) is a distressing consequence of cancer and its treatment. CRF impacts many young adult (YA) survivors of childhood cancer, compromising work, social relationships, and daily activities. No satisfactory treatment exists. This pilot study aimed to assess the feasibility, safety, and preliminary efficacy of an 8-week twice/week Iyengar yoga (IY) intervention for treating persistent fatigue in YA survivors of childhood cancer.METHODS: Using a single-arm mixed-methods design, adult childhood cancer survivors aged between 18 and 39 years were recruited from a survivorship clinic at a single institution. Quantitative: The primary outcome was fatigue as measured by the Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy-Fatigue. Secondary outcomes included vitality, social functioning, multidimensional fatigue, mood, and sleep. Weekly self-report monitoring data were collected. Qualitative: Participants also completed a post-intervention interview, major themes evaluated. RESULTS: Five participants enrolled into the study and four completed the intervention. Attendance was 92% and there were no adverse events. Baseline mobility was highly varied, with one YA having had a hemipelvectomy. Quantitative data revealed significantly improved fatigue, social functioning, somatization, and general and emotional manifestations of fatigue following yoga. Qualitative data cross validated, clarified, and expanded upon the quantitative findings. CONCLUSIONS: The study suggests that a brief IY intervention is safe for YA survivors of childhood cancer, even for those with physical disabilities. Preliminary efficacy was demonstrated for the primary outcome of fatigue. Qualitative data elucidated additional improvements, such as work-related social functioning, and a sense of calm and relaxation.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common condition associated with recurrent abdominal pain and altered bowel habits. It is particularly pernicious to youth, who may withdraw from life tasks due to pain, diarrhea, and/or fear of symptoms. Emotional stress exacerbates IBS symptoms, and mind-body interventions may be beneficial. In this mixed-methods study of 18 teens aged 14 to 17 years undertaking a 6-week Iyengar yoga intervention, we aimed to identify treatment responders and to explore differences between responders and nonresponders on a range of quantitative outcomes and qualitative themes related to yoga impact, goodness of fit, and barriers to treatment. Half of the teens responded successfully to yoga, defined as a clinically meaningful reduction in abdominal pain. Responders differed from nonresponders on postintervention quantitative outcomes, including reduced abdominal pain, improved sleep, and increased visceral sensitivity. Qualitative outcomes revealed that responders reported generalized benefits early in treatment and that their parents were supportive and committed to the intervention. Responders and nonresponders alike noted the importance of home practice to achieve maximal, sustained benefits. This study reveals the need for developmentally sensitive yoga programs that increase accessibility of yoga for all patients.