Cancer survivors who participated in a yoga program slept better, had less fatigue, and were less likely to need medication for sleeping problems and fatigue than survivors who did not participate in yoga. Sleeping problems and fatigue are the most common side effects of cancer treatment. In fact, most patients report that they have sleep problems during treatment, and more than half continue to have problems after treatment ends.
In this study, cancer survivors participated in a four-week, twice-weekly yoga program called YOCASÂ® (Yoga for Cancer Survivors) developed by the University of Rochester Cancer Center Community Clinical Oncology Program.
What This Means for Patients
“Very few, if any, treatments for the sleep problems and fatigue that cancer survivors experience work well for very long, if at all,” said lead author Karen Mustian, PhD, MPH, Assistant Professor of Radiation Oncology and Community and Preventive Medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center. “The study results point to a simple method that doctors can recommend to help patients with several very common cancer-related problems.” This study looked at a specific yoga program that included mindfulness exercises such as breathing, meditation, visualization, and various poses. A different yoga program may not have the same effect on sleep or fatigue problems.
Questions to Ask Your Doctor
- What are my treatment options for fatigue and sleeping problems?
- What treatment do you recommend? Why?
- Could you recommend a yoga program for people with cancer or cancer survivors?
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