Objectives: This study compares the effects of an integrated yoga program with brief supportive therapy on distressful symptoms in breast cancer outpatients undergoing adjuvant radiotherapy.
Materials and methods: Eighty-eight stage II and III breast cancer outpatients were randomly assigned to receive yoga (n = 44) or brief supportive therapy (n = 44) prior to their radiotherapy treatment. Intervention consisted of yoga sessions lasting 60 min daily while the control group was imparted supportive therapy once in 10 days during the course of their adjuvant radiotherapy. Assessments included Rotterdam Symptom Check List and European Organization for Research in the Treatment of Cancer-Quality of Life (EORTC QoL C30) symptom scale. Assessments were done at baseline and after 6 weeks of radiotherapy treatment.
Results: A GLM repeated-measures ANOVA showed a significant decrease in psychological distress (P = 0.01), fatigue (P = 0.007), insomnia (P = 0.001), and appetite loss (P = 0.002) over time in the yoga group as compared to controls. There was significant improvement in the activity level (P = 0.02) in the yoga group as compared to controls. There was a significant positive correlation between physical and psychological distress and fatigue, nausea and vomiting, pain, dyspnea, insomnia, appetite loss, and constipation. There was a significant negative correlation between the activity level and fatigue, nausea and vomiting, pain, dyspnea, insomnia, and appetite loss.
Conclusion: The results suggest beneficial effects with yoga intervention in managing cancer-and treatment-related symptoms in breast cancer patients.
Keywords: Breast cancer; meditation; stress; symptom distress; yoga.