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Yoga for women with breast cancer-related lymphoedema: a preliminary 6-month study

Janet Douglass, Maarten Immink, Neil Piller, Shahid Ullah
14 February 2014

<p>Background: The lifelong nature of breast cancer-related lymphoedema (BCRL) requires an exploration of activities that may be of potential benefit. Exercise trials in BCRL are becoming more common. Aims: To determine if the continued practice of yoga for 6 months imparts measureable benefits in reduction of lymphoedema, self-reported symptoms, and quality of life (QOL).</p>n<p>Methods: Women who had previously completed a 4-week yoga programme as part of a randomised control trial were invited to return for reassessment 6 months after the intervention ceased. Lymphoedema status was measured using bioimpedance spectroscopy (BIS), perometry, tonometry and lymphoedema symptoms, and QOL were assessed. Followup measurements were compared to baseline and those who had continued yoga were compared to those who had not.</p>n<p>Results: Although there were no statistically significant differences between the groups, trends suggested a benefit in continuing yoga for reduction of lymphoedema affected arm volume by BIS and perometry and skin softening by tonometry. QOL scores has declined more in the discontinued group than among women who continued yoga.</p>n<p>Conclusion: Yoga is a popular and potentially safe activity for women with BCRL. This study demonstrates trends in improvement of both objective and subjective measures that justify further investigation by future larger, longer-term investigations.</p>

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