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Palliative Care Symposium 2017: Yoga Therapy for Lung Cancer Patients

By: Susan Reckling
Posted: Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Yoga therapy appears to be a useful supportive care strategy for patients with non–small cell lung cancer receiving radiotherapy, with the benefits extending to patients’ caregivers as well, according to the findings of a randomized controlled trial featured in a presscast prior to the upcoming 2017 Palliative and Supportive Care in Oncology Symposium in San Diego.

“Caregivers sometimes have more anxiety and sleeping problems than patients,” revealed lead study author Kathrin Milbury, PhD, of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, in a news release from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). “Therefore, we thought that having the patient and caregiver go through yoga instruction together would be beneficial for both partners.”

Some of the participants were assigned to yoga classes (emphasizing physical postures, breathing exercises, and meditation), and the others were assigned to a wait list for future yoga instruction. More than 60% of the patients were women, with stage III disease, and their caregivers were spouses.

Of the 26 dyads who completed a mean of 12 yoga sessions, most of them (96%) rated the program as “very useful.” In the dyads who practiced yoga, the investigators found significantly better physical function (as assessed by the 6-minute walking test), better stamina, and improved mental health; in addition, improvements in both fatigue and stamina were reported by the caregivers who received yoga instruction.