Can yoga help cancer survivors improve well-being?

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Couple doing yoga together

Roswell Park offers new 12-week yoga program as part of research study

A cancer diagnosis can induce trauma not only on the physical body but also on the mind and overall well-being. This trauma can persist long after completing cancer treatment. Stress, fatigue, anxiety, pain, depression and sleep difficulty are just a few of the problems that cancer survivors may encounter in their daily life.

For many years and in many cultures, yoga and meditation have been known to support overall well-being and also help manage and relieve stress. Yoga is a form of physical and mental activity consisting of a series of postures often connected by flowing sequences of stretching, breathing exercises, relaxation techniques and meditation.

Not all yoga styles are appropriate for cancer survivors, especially vigorous class styles or heated yoga with extreme physical demands. Cancer survivors have certain physical needs and modifications are necessary in order to provide safe yoga instruction. Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center offers yoga classes suitable for survivor and caregiver populations, such as gentle and restorative styles, while ensuring important oncology safety protocols and physician consideration.

New yoga program enrolling now

Roswell Park is now offering a 12-week yoga program as part of a research study to explore the impact of yoga on some of the physical and psychological issues that many cancer survivors face.

This program was built in a way to limit the number of visits to Roswell Park. The yoga practice itself is completely online with special consideration to current health precautions and guidelines to keep everyone safe. Study materials and sample collection (saliva and blood) and can be combined with your clinic appointments. Additionally, some materials and incentives are mailed to your home. To participate in the study, enrollees are asked to:

  • Complete a series of surveys asking about quality of life, stress and stress-related questions at the beginning and end of the study.
  • Provide saliva and blood samples (to evaluate physiologic signs of stress) at the beginning and end of the study.
  • Join the weekly online restorative yoga sessions. The sessions are 60 minutes each and are appropriate for all levels. Participants can practice their yoga wherever they have internet access.

All equipment will be provided and the classes are led by certified yoga therapists with oncology-specific training.

Who can participate?

Any cancer survivor (at least two months past completing active treatment and medically cleared) may participate in this yoga study. Please call study coordinator Bridget Fleissner at 716-845-1300 ext. 7830, or ask the Survivorship clinical team for more information.

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