The flowing movements and meditative exercises of the mind-body activity Qigong may help survivors of prostate cancer to reduce 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.
Severe fatigue is one of the most common cancer-related symptoms reported by cancer survivors, particularly for prostate cancer survivors receiving androgen deprivation therapy (ADT). This subjective sense of physical, emotional or cognitive exhaustion may persist for months or years following treatment.
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’ fatigue 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.” I’m Dr. Michael Hunter, and yes I practice meditation and qigong (and so should you!).
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Reference: Rebecca A. Campo, Neeraj Agarwal, Paul C. LaStayo, Kathleen O’Connor, Lisa Pappas, Kenneth M. Boucher, Jerry Gardner, Sierra Smith, Kathleen C. Light, Anita Y. Kinney.Levels of fatigue and distress in senior prostate cancer survivors enrolled in a 12-week randomized controlled trial of Qigong. Journal of Cancer Survivorship, 2013; DOI:10.1007/s11764-013-0315-5