Yoga for women with metastatic breast cancer: results from a pilot study.J Pain Symptom Manage 2007; 33(3):331-41JP
Metastatic breast cancer (MBC) remains a terminal illness for which major treatment advances are slow to appear, and hence it is crucial that effective palliative interventions be developed to reduce the cancer-related symptoms of women with this condition during the remaining years of their lives. This pilot/feasibility study examined a novel, yoga-based palliative intervention, the Yoga of Awareness Program, in a sample of women with MBC. The eight-week protocol included gentle yoga postures, breathing exercises, meditation, didactic presentations, and group interchange. Outcome was assessed using daily measures of pain, fatigue, distress, invigoration, acceptance, and relaxation during two preintervention weeks and the final two weeks of the intervention. Thirteen women completed the intervention (mean age=59; mean time since diagnosis=7 years; two African American, 11 Caucasian). During the study, four participants had cancer recurrences, and the physical condition of several others deteriorated noticeably. Despite low statistical power, pre-to-post multilevel outcomes analyses showed significant increases in invigoration and acceptance. Lagged analyses of length of home yoga practice (controlling for individual mean practice time and outcome levels on the lagged days) showed that on the day after a day during which women practiced more, they experienced significantly lower levels of pain and fatigue, and higher levels of invigoration, acceptance, and relaxation. These findings support the need for further investigation of the effects of the Yoga of Awareness Program in women with MBC.