ASCO: Yoga Benefits Survivors of Early-Stage Cancers

Four-week program improves sleep and quality of life while lessening fatigue
By Rick Ansorge
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, May 21 (HealthDay News) -- In cancer survivors who report sleeping problems after completing adjuvant therapy, a yoga program may lead to better sleep, less fatigue and an improved quality of life, according to a study released May 20 in advance of the American Society of Clinical Oncology's 46th Annual Meeting, to be held June 4-8 in Chicago.

Karen Mustian, Ph.D., M.P.H., of the University of Rochester Medical Center in Rochester, N.Y., and colleagues randomly assigned 410 survivors of early-stage cancers -- 96 percent of them women, and 75 percent of them breast cancer patients -- to receive either standard monitoring plus a four-week, twice-weekly Yoga for Cancer Survivors (YOCAS) program or standard monitoring and usual care (control).

Compared to the control group, the researchers found that the yoga group was more likely to report greater sleep quality, decreased use of medication for sleeping, less fatigue and a better quality of life.

"Very few, if any, treatments for the sleep problems and fatigue that cancer survivors experience work well for very long, if at all," Mustian said in a statement. "The study results point to a simple, non-pharmacological therapy that clinicians can recommend to help patients with several very common cancer-related problems."

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