Preoperative Rehabilitation in Lung Cancer Patients: Yoga Approach

Adv Exp Med Biol. 2018:1096:19-29. doi: 10.1007/5584_2018_186.


Lung cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer death worldwide. Surgical removal remains the best option for most tumors of this type. Reduction of cigarette consumption in patients with lung cancer candidates for the surgery could limit the impact of tobacco on postsurgical outcomes. Breathing exercises appear to help combat cigarette cravings. Yoga exercise benefits have been studied in lung cancer survivors, rather than in the preoperative setting. In this study, we have recruited 32 active smokers affected by lung cancer and being candidates for pulmonary surgery. The patients were randomly assigned to two groups: one treated by standard breathing and the other treated by yoga breathing (YB). The groups were evaluated at times T0 (baseline) and T1 (after 7 days of treatment) to compare the effects of the two breathing treatments on pulmonary performance in a presurgery setting. Pulmonary and cardiocirculatory functions have been tested using a self-calibrating computerized spirometer and a portable pulse oximetry device. The findings demonstrate appreciable short-term improvement in lung function assessed by spirometry. We conclude that yoga breathing can be a beneficial preoperative support for thoracic surgery.

Keywords: Active smokers; Breathing exercises; Lung cancer; Pranayama; Preoperative rehabilitation; Pulmonary function; Spirometry; Thoracic surgery; Yoga.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Breathing Exercises / methods*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / physiopathology
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / rehabilitation*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung / physiopathology
  • Lung Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Lung Neoplasms / rehabilitation*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Preoperative Care
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Smokers / statistics & numerical data*
  • Spirometry
  • Yoga*