Eischens Yoga May Benefit Men Undergoing Radiation Therapy for Prostate Cancer

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For patients with prostate cancer, yoga was found to decrease fatigue and improve sexual function.
For patients with prostate cancer, yoga was found to decrease fatigue and improve sexual function.

Twice-weekly Eischens yoga during radiation treatment for prostate cancer was associated with reduction in fatigue, sexual dysfunction, and some quality of life scores.1

Previous research has shown exercise may have benefits for quality of life (QOL), fatigue, muscle mass loss, cachexia, and possibly treatment outcome in patients undergoing treatment for cancer. Because Eischens yoga is focused on the energy of the poses with less complexity, it may be more accessible to individuals without prior yoga experience. 

Dr Neha Vapiwala, MD, of the department of radiation oncology at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and colleagues, conducted a randomized phase 2 study to assess the benefits of yoga on patients undergoing external beam radiation for prostate cancer. Patients were randomly assigned 1:1 to either twice-weekly yoga sessions throughout the 6 to 9 weeks of radiation treatment or no yoga.

The study included 22 patients in the yoga group and 29 patients in the no-yoga group. The patients in the yoga group reported less global fatigue, severity of fatigue, and impact of fatigue.1

“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. Both the severity of the fatigue as well as the patient's ability to go about their normal lives appeared to be positively impacted in the yoga group,” Dr Vapiwala said in a press release.2

Further, the yoga group showed a significant interaction for sexual health scores (P = .0333). Although the yoga group did not show a significant effect of treatment with the International Prostate Symptoms Score (IPSS), there was a significant effect of time (P < .0001). There was also significant time by treatment effects for quality of life measures for emotional, physical, and social scores. They did not observe quality of life benefits for functional scores.1

“Our randomized phase II study demonstrates the novel application of a structured, short-term yoga intervention for potential reduction of pre-existing and RT-related fatigue, urinary and sexual dysfunction in PC patients,” the authors write.1

References

1. Ben-Josef AM, Chen J, Wileyto P, et al. Impact of Eischens yoga during radiation therapy on prostate cancer patient symptoms and quality of life: a randomized phase II trial. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2017. [Epub ahead of print] doi: 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2017.03.043

2. Clinical Trial Shows Benefit of Yoga for Side Effects of Prostate Cancer Treatment [press release]. Philadelphia, PA: Penn Medicine News; April 06, 2017. www.pennmedicine.org/news/news-releases/2017/april/clinical-trial-shows-benefit-of-yoga-for-side-effects-of-prostate-cancer-treatment. Accessed April 23, 2017.

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