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This study compares the anxiolytic effects of a yoga program and supportive therapy in breast cancer outpatients undergoing conventional treatment at a cancer centre.
Ninety-eight stage II and III breast cancer outpatients were randomly assigned to receive yoga (n = 45) or brief supportive therapy (n = 53) prior to their primary treatment i.e., surgery. Only those subjects who received surgery followed by adjuvant radiotherapy and six cycles of chemotherapy were chosen for analysis following intervention (yoga, n = 18, control, n = 20). Intervention consisted of yoga sessions lasting 60 min daily while the control group was imparted supportive therapy during their hospital visits as a part of routine care. Assessments included Speilberger’s State Trait Anxiety Inventory and symptom checklist. Assessments were done at baseline, after surgery, before, during, and after radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
A GLM-repeated measures ANOVA showed overall decrease in both self-reported state anxiety (p < 0.001) and trait anxiety (p = 0.005) in yoga group as compared to controls. There was a positive correlation between anxiety states and traits with symptom severity and distress during conventional treatment intervals.
The results suggest that yoga can be used for managing treatment-related symptoms and anxiety in breast cancer outpatients.
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