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Benefits of Yoga on Prostate Cancer Patients

PCF

A recent study suggests that men who are suffering from the side effects of prostate cancer radiation therapy treatment might want to consider taking up a yoga class.

The study followed fifty men with localized prostate cancer (cancer that had not spread to others parts of the body), who did not have a previous history of yoga practice and who underwent external beam radiation therapy (EBRT) over six to nine weeks.

External beam radiation therapy uses high-energy beams to weaken cancer cells’ ability to divide and grow. While the therapy is effective, many men experience side effects, including fatigue, sexual problems (such as erectile dysfunction), and trouble with urination. “Levels of patient-reported fatigue are expected to increase by around the fourth or fifth week of a typical treatment course, but that did not happen in the yoga group,” said PCF Young Investigator Dr. Neha Vapiwala of University of Pennsylvania, who led the study .

During the six to nine week RT therapy, 22 of the men took yoga classes twice a week, 28 of the men did not. The men in the yoga group practiced the Eischens type of yoga, which focuses more on energy of the pose with less complexity of than other types of yoga, it may be more accessible to those without prior yoga experience. Each 75-minute session included a variety of poses in sitting, standing, and reclining positions.

While the men in both groups had similar levels of fatigue at the start of the study, researchers found that the men who practiced the yoga while receiving radiation therapy reported less fatigue than the men who didn’t.  The yoga also seemed to positively impact the ability to go about their normal lives as well. Additionally, the men who practiced yoga reported less negative effects of radiation therapy on erectile function and urinary function than the men who were not practicing yoga.

So, stretch out, and maybe add yoga as part of a healthy, diverse exercise plan to combat the fatigue associated with prostate cancer therapies.

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