Yoga for Children and Adolescents After Completing Cancer Treatment
During treatment for cancer, children and adolescents experience distressing symptoms that may persist after treatment is completed. Researchers have found that childhood cancer survivors, who are now adults, have a higher occurrence of fatigue and sleep problems than their healthy siblings. We also know that some types of chemotherapy cause patients to have difficulties with balance that continue years after treatment. It is important to address these symptoms to improve the survivor's quality of life and to give them the energy and skills needed for their ongoing development.
Yoga is a disciplined practice of breathing, postures or poses, and meditation. Recently, some adult cancer researchers found that a yoga course helped relieve fatigue and sleep problems in adults who had recently completed cancer treatment. In this study, we want to evaluate if a six-week yoga course, helps children and teens that finished their cancer treatment in the past two months to two years. We will measure fatigue, balance, sleep, and stress before the course begins and at the end of the course. We will compare these outcomes to a group of patients who didn't have the yoga course.
The results of this study will help us learn new ways to engage child and adolescent cancer survivors in activities to improve their health. We will share the outcomes of the study with other health professionals as well as share how we developed the yoga course and how it can be replicated at other cancer centers.
Yoga is a disciplined practice of breathing, postures or poses, and meditation. There are many health benefits to practicing yoga. Recently, some adult cancer researchers found that a yoga course helped relieve fatigue and sleep problems in adults who had recently completed cancer treatment. In this study, we wanted to find out if children and teens that recently finished their cancer treatment would come to a six-week yoga program and if yoga was helpful to them. We measured fatigue, balance, sleep, and stress three times: at the beginning of the study, 6 weeks later just before the yoga began and at the end of the 6 week yoga program. We are found out that many of our cancer survivors chose not to take part in the study; they told us they are too busy or they aren't interested in traveling back to the clinic. The survivors who did participate were enthusiastic and had excellent attendance. When we measured the survivors' symptoms, fatigue, balance, sleep, and stress didn't change in the 6 weeks leading up to the yoga class. After the 6 week yoga program, stress levels in children decreased while stress levels in teens trended in a downward direction. Levels of fatigue, sleep, and balance stayed the same after the yoga program. The participants' fatigue and balance scores were below the norms for healthy children and adolescents at all the measurement points while sleep and stress scores were similar to healthy peers.