How Yoga Can Improve Treatment-Related Symptoms of Prostate Cancer
Over the past few years, only some research has focused specifically on men who are being treated for prostate cancer.
Due to a growing number of prostate cancer survivors, there is a greater need for strategies to mitigate the adverse reactions to treatment that may negatively affect quality of life (QOL).
Approximately 70% of prostate cancer survivors currently have overweight or obesity. In addition to treatments, lifestyle choices may predispose some survivors to cancer-related fatigue (CRF) affecting their QOL.
A systematic review targeting the effect of nutrition and exercise on CRF and QOL specific to men with prostate cancer concluded that “consuming a diet aligned with the healthy eating guidelines and exercising at a moderate-vigorous (aerobic exercise) and/or moderate-to-hard (resistance training) intensity may reduce CRF. Structured and supervised exercise positively influences both CRF and QOL in men with prostate cancer.” The study also speaks to the benefits of receiving individualised nutrition therapy to focus on increased protein intake for maintaining lean muscle mass and foods that support an anti-inflammatory diet.
Research on Yoga and Side Effects of Prostate Cancer Treatment
In 2015, the first randomised trial to look at the effect of twice-weekly yoga on the side effects caused by prostate cancer treatment was led by the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. The study concluded that men who attended a structured yoga class twice weekly during prostate cancer radiation treatment noticed improved sexual and urinary function, as well as decreased fatigue compared to those who did not attend. This study was limited to patients who had previously not practised yoga, had no prior radiation therapy and did not have metastatic disease. The improved urinary function scores and lack of decline in sexual function for those who participated in yoga may be due to the fact that “yoga is known to strengthen pelvic floor muscles.”
The type of yoga assessed in the study, called Eischens yoga, focuses on holding and maintaining poses, and is accessible for all body types and experience levels.
While more research is needed on the effects that yoga may have on the side effects caused by prostate cancer treatments, the evidence thus far has yielded positive results for prostate cancer survivor
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