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The new study included 27 men who attended 75-minute yoga classes twice a week. These patients saw their quality of life and side effects remain stable throughout their radiation treatment.
"Data have consistently shown declines in these important measures among prostate cancer patients undergoing cancer therapy without any structured fitness interventions, so the stable scores seen with our yoga program are really good news," Dr. Neha Vapiwala, an associate professor in the radiation oncology department of the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, said in a university news release.
Yoga may help reduce cancer- and treatment-related fatigue, the study authors suggested. It may also strengthen pelvic floor muscles and increase blood flow, which could improve erectile dysfunction and urinary incontinence.
"There may also be a psychosocial benefit that derives from participation in a group fitness activity that incorporates meditation and promotes overall healthiness. And all of this ultimately improves general quality of life," Vapiwala added.
The study was presented this week at the Society of Integrative Oncology's international conference in Boston. Research presented at meetings should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.
Nearly 240,000 American men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year, according to the American Cancer Society, which funded the study.
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SOURCE: University of Pennsylvania, news release, Nov. 16, 2015