Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Yoga may lessen side effects in men undergoing prostate cancer treatment


Public Release: 16-Nov-2015
Yoga may lessen side effects in men undergoing prostate cancer treatment
More men willing to participate in yoga therapy than expected, Penn study finds
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Men with prostate cancer who are undergoing radiation therapy can benefit from yoga, researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania reported at the Society of Integrative Oncology's 12th International Conference.

The new, first-of-its-kind study, led by Neha Vapiwala, MD, an associate professor in the department of Radiation Oncology at PSOM and Penn's Abramson Cancer Center, found that general quality of life and measurements of side effects often experienced by prostate cancer patients--including fatigue, sexual health, and urinary incontinence--were stable throughout a course of outpatient radiation therapy among the men participating in an intensive yoga program.

"Data have consistently shown declines in these important measures among prostate cancer patients undergoing cancer therapy without any structured fitness interventions, so the stable scores seen with our yoga program are really good news," Vapiwala said.

Cancer-related fatigue differs from everyday-life fatigue, which is usually temporary and can be relieved by rest or sleep. Fatigue that stems from cancer or cancer treatments has been found to lower patients' quality of life even more than pain, and studies have shown that anywhere from 60 to 90 percent of patients receiving radiation therapy report this symptom. Furthermore, erectile dysfunction is reported in 21 to 85 percent of all prostate cancer patients, while urinary incontinence is reported in 24 percent of men with this disease.

The possible explanation for the benefits of yoga seen in the study stems from physiologic data demonstrating its ability to help reduce cancer- as well as treatment- related fatigue and to strengthen pelvic floor muscles and increase blood flow. These latter aspects may in turn improve erectile dysfunction and urinary incontinence, said Vapiwala.

"There may also be a psychosocial benefit that derives from participation in a group fitness activity that incorporates meditation and promotes overall healthiness. And all of this ultimately improves general quality of life," she added.


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