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Hospital Begins First-in-Kind Trial of Yoga in Prostate Cancer Patients

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Can prostate cancer patients in the midst of therapy benefit from yoga? One of the nation's leading university research hospitals aimed to find out.

Researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania want to know whether men with prostate cancer who are undergoing radiation therapy can benefit from yoga and have launched a study to that end led by Neha Vapiwala, MD, assistant professor of Radiation Oncology in Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center

Specifically they want to know whether yoga can help men with radiation-related fatigue, stress, and quality of life.

Said Vapiwala:

There are many yoga therapy-related programs in operation, primarily involving women with breast cancer, but ours is the first that we’re aware of that deals exclusively with men with prostate cancer.

Prostate cancer patients make up an unlikely population for yoga, since the majority of Americans who practice yoga are female and under the age of 55, while at diagnosis the median age for prostate cancer patients is 66. However, Penn reports that their patients have been enthusiastic about signing up.

The target enrollment number is 60, and the group intends to get things started early next year.

Yoga's effects will be measured by participants’ responses to a series of questions that assess issues like overall quality-of-life, cancer–related fatigue, and prevalence of sexual and erectile dysfunction and urinary incontinence—carefully chosen variables due to their prevalence among this population.

“If the results show that taking part in yoga improves quality of life by reducing these problems," said Vapiwala, "we’ll be better able to educate patients on the benefits of yoga that we were not previously aware of, and encourage it among all of our patients."

The men in the study group will attend 75 minute Eischens yoga classes twice weekly. Eischens yoga involves simplified or modified poses and incorporates ideas from movement theory and kinesiology. It is accessible to all body types and experience levels.

Source: Penn Medicine

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