Saturday, December 1, 2012

Is yoga beneficial for cancer survivors?

Physical activity and exercise have been found to help cancer survivors to improve fitness, reduce fatigue, and is associated with better survival. In a paper published in BMC Cancer, with Dr. Laurien Buffart as first author, we systematically reviewed and meta-analysed the results of existing randomized controlled trial (RCT) testing the effects of yoga on physical and psychosocial outcomes in cancer patients and survivors. Sixteen publications of 13 RCTs met the inclusion criteria, of which one included patients with lymphomas and the others focused on patients with breast cancer.

Of the outcomes studied in more than three studies among patients with breast cancer, we found large reductions in distress, anxiety, and depression, moderate reductions in fatigue, moderate increases in general quality of life, emotional function and social function, and a small increase in functional well-being. Evidence for effects on physical function and sleep was not found. We concluded that yoga appeared to be a feasible intervention and that beneficial effects on self-reported physical and psychosocial wellbeing were found among  patients with breast cancer, but no evidence was found for beneficial effects on physical function.