Yoga can reduce treatment-related symptoms for men with prostate cancer

There are decades of research that show that yoga can reduce the emotional and physical fatigue brought on by cancer treatment. Scientists reported in 2017 that this is also true specifically for men undergoing treatment for prostate cancer. Researchers found that men who took a yoga class twice a week during prostate cancer radiation treatment reported less fatigue, fewer sexual side effects, and better urinary functioning than men who did not.

The research team that studied this connection enrolled 50 men ages 53 to 85 who were diagnosed with early or advanced non-metastatic prostate cancer. Of them, 22 were assigned to yoga classes and the rest did not participate in yoga. All the men received scheduled radiation treatments; 29 of them were also on hormonal therapy, and 19 had been treated previously with surgery. The yoga and control groups were evenly balanced with respect to various cancer treatments as well as treatments for side effects.

Eischens yoga was the type of yoga assessed in the study. It focuses on holding and maintaining poses, and is accessible for all body types and experience levels. The yoga sessions each lasted 75 minutes. The men in the nine-week study were asked to rate their fatigue, sexual and urinary symptoms before, during and after the study ended.

The male participants in the yoga group reported improving or stabilizing symptom scores over time, whereas men in the non-yoga group reported worsening symptoms. The study authors speculated that yoga improves erectile and urinary function by strengthening core muscles and improving blood flow.

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