Several cognitive behavioral interventions have been reported to reduce psychological symptoms in breast cancer (BC) patients. The goal of this study was to evaluate the effects of a yoga intervention in reducing depression and anxiety symptoms in BC patients.
This study was a randomized, partially blinded, controlled trial comparing a standardized yoga intervention to standard care. It was conducted at three medical centers in Montreal, Canada. Eligible patients were women diagnosed with stage I–III BC receiving chemotherapy. Participants were randomly assigned to receive yoga intervention immediately (experimental group, n=58) or after a waiting period (n=43 control group). The Bali Yoga Program for Breast Cancer Patients (BYP-BC) consisted of 23 gentle Hatha asanas (poses), 2 prayanamas (breathing techniques), shavasanas (relaxation corpse poses) and psychoeducational themes. Participants attended eight weekly sessions lasting 90 min each and received a DVD for home practice with 20- and 40-min sessions. Participants in the wait list control group received standard care during the 8-week waiting period.
A total of 101 participants took part in the final intention-to-treat analyses. The repeated measures analyses demonstrated that depression symptoms increased in the control group (p=0.007), while no change was reported in the BYP-BC group (p=0.29). Also, depression symptoms decreased in the WL control group after receiving the BYP-BC intervention (p=0.03). Finally, there was no statistical significance in terms of anxiety symptoms (p=0.10).
Results support the BYP-BC intervention as a beneficial means of reducing and preventing the worsening of depression symptoms during chemotherapy treatment.
The authors would like to thank Dr. Dubé and Dr. Martin for their contributions. Support for this research was provided by the Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation, the private organization Foundation Mireille-Lanctôt, and the Centre de liaison sur l’intervention et la prevention psychosociales (CLIPP).
Author contributions: All the authors have accepted responsibility for the entire content of this submitted manuscript and approved submission.
Research funding: None declared.
Employment or leadership: None declared.
Honorarium: None declared.
Competing interests: The funding organization(s) played no role in the study design; in the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data; in the writing of the report; or in the decision to submit the report for publication.
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