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Randomized Controlled Trial
, 32 (10), 1058-65

Randomized, Controlled Trial of Yoga in Women With Breast Cancer Undergoing Radiotherapy

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Randomized Controlled Trial

Randomized, Controlled Trial of Yoga in Women With Breast Cancer Undergoing Radiotherapy

Kavita D Chandwani et al. J Clin Oncol.

Abstract

Purpose: Previous research incorporating yoga (YG) into radiotherapy (XRT) for women with breast cancer finds improved quality of life (QOL). However, shortcomings in this research limit the findings.

Patients and methods: Patients with stages 0 to III breast cancer were recruited before starting XRT and were randomly assigned to YG (n = 53) or stretching (ST; n = 56) three times a week for 6 weeks during XRT or waitlist (WL; n = 54) control. Self-report measures of QOL (Medical Outcomes Study 36-item short-form survey; primary outcomes), fatigue, depression, and sleep quality, and five saliva samples per day for 3 consecutive days were collected at baseline, end of treatment, and 1, 3, and 6 months later.

Results: The YG group had significantly greater increases in physical component scale scores compared with the WL group at 1 and 3 months after XRT (P = .01 and P = .01). At 1, 3, and 6 months, the YG group had greater increases in physical functioning compared with both ST and WL groups (P < .05), with ST and WL differences at only 3 months (P < .02). The group differences were similar for general health reports. By the end of XRT, the YG and ST groups also had a reduction in fatigue (P < .05). There were no group differences for mental health and sleep quality. Cortisol slope was steepest for the YG group compared with the ST and WL groups at the end (P = .023 and P = .008) and 1 month after XRT (P = .05 and P = .04).

Conclusion: YG improved QOL and physiological changes associated with XRT beyond the benefits of simple ST exercises, and these benefits appear to have long-term durability.

Conflict of interest statement

Authors' disclosures of potential conflicts of interest and author contributions are found at the end of this article.

Figures

Fig 1.
Fig 1.
Flow of study participants over study period.
Fig 2.
Fig 2.
Change from baseline in Medical Outcomes Study 36-item short-form survey (SF-36) subscale scores. (A) SF-36 PCS change from baseline; (B) SF-36 physical function change from baseline; (C) SF-36 general health change from baseline. Significance values are from the MIXED models of change scores at each follow-up time point. (*) Yoga versus waitlist, P < .05. (†) Yoga versus stretch, P < .05. (‡) Stretch versus waitlist, P < .05.
Fig 3.
Fig 3.
Change from baseline for fatigue. Significance values are from the MIXED models of change scores at each follow-up time point. (*) Yoga versus waitlist, P < .05. (†) Stretch versus waitlist, P < .05.
Fig 4.
Fig 4.
Log-transformed cortisol level daily curves. (A) Daily log-cortisol mean at baseline. No group differences. (B) Daily log-cortisol mean at end of radiotherapy. Yoga has steeper slope than stretch and waitlist groups (P = .027 and P = .008, respectively). (C) Daily log-cortisol mean at 1 month. Yoga has steeper slope than waitlist (P = .05 and P = .04, respectively). Significance values are from the GLM analysis of cortisol slopes at each time point, covarying for baseline.

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