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Yoga may combat side effects of prostate cancer treatment


Practicing yoga may alleviate side effects of prostate cancer radiation treatment, scientists, including one of Indian origin, have found for the first time.

Men who attended a structured yoga class twice a week during prostate cancer radiation treatment reported less fatigue and better urinary function than those who did not, researchers said.

It is the first clinical trial to look at the effect of twice-weekly yoga on the side-effects and quality of life issues caused by prostate cancer treatment, they said.

All of the patients in the trial, led by the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in the US, underwent between six and nine weeks of external beam radiation therapy for prostate cancer.

The patients were randomised into two groups: one participated in a yoga class that met twice a week and the other served as a control group.

Each yoga session lasted 75 minutes, beginning with five minutes of breathing and centring techniques and ending with five minutes of Savasana, a sleeping position.

Patients were primarily evaluated on their level of fatigue. Each man filled out a nine-item questionnaire assessing fatigue severity and impact on daily life.

The first questionnaire was given between two and three weeks before the start of radiotherapy, then twice a week while receiving radiotherapy, with a final survey filled out within a week of their last yoga class or last radiation treatment, depending on the assigned study arm.

Patients in the yoga group reported lower fatigue scores over time, as they attended more yoga sessions, relative to where they started.

Patients who did not participate in yoga trended in the opposite direction, reporting greater fatigue as treatment progressed.

The study was published in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology and Physics.

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