Qigong can help fight fatigue in prostate cancer survivors

The flowing movements and meditative exercises of the mind-body activity Qigong may help survivors of prostate cancer to combat fatigue. These are the findings of a trial study led by Dr. Anita Y. Kinney at the University of New Mexico Cancer Center and Dr. Rebecca Campo at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The study took place at the Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah, and was published in Springer's Journal of Cancer Survivorship.

Severe fatigue is one of the most common cancer-related symptoms reported by , particularly for survivors receiving androgen deprivation therapy (ADT). This subjective sense of physical, emotional or cognitive exhaustion may persist for months or years following treatment. It greatly diminishes survivors' quality of life by limiting their ability to perform daily activities and causes significant distress.

Because cancer patients are often advised to participate in physical activity as a nonpharmacological way to manage cancer-related fatigue and levels of distress, senior author Kinney and lead author Campo launched a trial study to determine if the mind-body activity Qigong holds any promise for older cancer survivors in this regard. Qigong is performed at a slow pace, is not overly physically exertive, and can even be performed sitting. It combines slow, flowing movements with coordinated deep breathing and meditative exercises.

Forty participants who suffered from high levels of fatigue were recruited for a 12-week randomized controlled trial. The group was on average 72 years old. Half of the group took part in Qigong classes, while the other participants attended stretching classes.

Qigong classes seemed to have been more popular with the participants, as its class attendance was higher than that of the stretching group. More importantly though, according to Kinney, "Qigong participants reported significant declines in how much fatigue or distress they experienced, compared to those who participated in the stretching class."

"Qigong may be an effective nonpharmacological intervention for the management of senior prostate cancer survivors' and distress," says Campo, who adds that further larger trials would be needed to confirm these benefits in older prostate cancer survivors and in racially and ethnically diverse populations.

More information: Campo, R.A., Kinney, A.Y. et al (2013). Levels of fatigue and distress in senior prostate cancer survivors enrolled in a 12-week randomized controlled trial of Qigong, Journal of Cancer Survivorship, DOI: 10.1007/s11764-013-0315-5

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Mutations need help from aging tissue to cause leukemia

2 hours ago

Why are older people at higher risk for developing cancer? Prevailing opinion holds that, over time, your body's cells accumulate DNA damage and that eventually this damage catches up with the body in a way ...

Specific oxidation regulates cellular functions

6 hours ago

For a long time, hydrogen peroxide has been considered as a dangerous metabolite that can damage cells through oxidation. This, however, is not its only role in the cell. Scientists from the German Cancer Research Center ...

New disease mechanism discovered in lymphoma

7 hours ago

Programmed cell death is a mechanism that causes defective and potentially harmful cells to destroy themselves. It serves a number of purposes in the body, including the prevention of malignant tumor growth. ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.