<< View All Contributors
Jennifer Brown, RN, BSN, CPN, CPHON is the Childhood Cancer Survivorship Nurse for a Cancer Survivorship Center in the Texas Panhandle.  She has worked as a pediatric nurse for 15 years, taking care of pediatric hematology/oncology/stem cell transplant patients in some capacity her entire career. Having been a caregiver to two family members with cancer, Jennifer is dedicated to raising awareness for all types of cancer.

Yoga and Cancer

Yoga can benefit the cancer survivor both physically and emotionally.
PUBLISHED: 6:02 AM, THU MAY 25, 2017
Talk about this article with nurses and others in the oncology community in the General Discussions Oncology Nursing News discussion group.
Having worked at the bedside as a pediatric nurse for 15 years, I am well-versed in acute care and have a passion for pediatric oncology. I recently shifted my focus from acute cancer treatment to the needs that are sometimes under-addressed during treatment, as well what happens after treatment is over. I took on the exciting, yet sometimes challenging task of developing a childhood cancer survivorship program in our area. I now spend my days scouring research studies with the goal of taking care of the "whole" survivor, not just the survivor’s acute medical needs. Let me clarify also that we consider these children to be survivors from the moment of diagnosis. This is meant to encourage a sense of empowerment over something that, in reality, they have very little control over.
 
All that said, a resounding theme in all my research has been how important it is to address the survivor’s emotional needs from diagnosis to end of treatment and beyond. The cancer journey is an inexplicably stressful one. Stress and anxiety can manifest physically. A study conducted at the University of Utah in 2008 found that "people who have a poorly regulated response to stress are also more sensitive to pain." The cancer journey holds many painful experiences such as surgeries, accessing central lines, blood draws, and side effects from their treatment like neuropathy. Reducing patients' stress can help them physically.
 
Meditation, relaxation, and exercise are widely known and practiced as stress relievers. Yoga, a lesser-known stress reliever, has become increasingly popular in the last few decades. The movements and controlled breathing practiced in yoga have been shown to improve physical manifestations of stress such as pain and fatigue. Cancer patients experience all of the above! A Harvard Medical School Mental Health Letter reports that "yoga reduces stress and anxiety which in turn reduces heart rate, lowers blood pressure, and eases respiration. Patients who practiced yoga were also less sensitive to pain and therefore better able to tolerate treatment." According to Duke University, "patients at all stages of health, including cancer survivors, can benefit from yoga. And the benefits are both physical and emotional."
 
An unwanted side effect that often accompanies cancer treatment is fatigue. The normal response to this extreme tiredness is rest.  This can lead to a lack of physical activity. Exercise has been shown to reduce symptoms and improve quality of life. Yoga is becoming more and more popular with cancer survivors because it provides "a balanced form of whole-body exercise." It’s not strenuous, like we sometimes associate “exercise” with and benefits the cancer survivor not only physically, but mentally as well. 
 
But isn’t yoga for adults? Did you know there are yoga classes out there for children? I didn’t realize this until recently. It makes perfect sense though, that if yoga can benefit adult cancer survivors, why can’t it benefit childhood cancer survivors as well? Armed with this new knowledge, Yoga for Kids will be introduced at our center next month. Oncology nursing is so much more than giving chemotherapy. I challenge you to broaden your focus as well.

Talk about this article with nurses and others in the oncology community in the General Discussions Oncology Nursing News discussion group.
More from Jennifer Brown RN, BSN, CPN, CPHON
Guilt is common among caregivers of childhood cancer survivors.
PUBLISHED: Tue October 03 2017
Who ever said that cancer patients, young or old, don't have sex?
PUBLISHED: Thu August 24 2017
I’m sure we can all agree that we’d like to provide the best care possible to our patients each and every day.
PUBLISHED: Tue June 13 2017
Have you considered the possibility that your patient may be going through an identity crisis brought on by their cancer diagnosis?
PUBLISHED: Thu April 20 2017
External Resources

MJH Associates
American Journal of Managed Care
Cure
MD Magazine
Pharmacy Times
Physicians' Education Resource
Specialty Pharmacy Times
TargetedOnc
OncNurse Resources

Blogs
Continuing Education
Discussions
Web Exclusives


About Us
Advertise
Advisory Board
Careers
Contact Us
Privacy Policy
Terms & Conditions
Intellisphere, LLC
2 Clarke Drive
Suite 100
Cranbury, NJ 08512
P: 609-716-7777
F: 609-716-4747

Copyright OncNursing 2006-2017
Intellisphere, LLC. All Rights Reserved.