Why We’re Testing Y4C: Yoga for Cancer Patients, Survivors

Yoga for Cancer
Print icon

Many cancer patients seek out yoga to provide comfort, relaxation, reduce pain and anxiety.

Yoga, the ancient Indian system, incorporates physical exercise and movement with mental and spiritual practice. In the United States, yoga is one of the most common forms of integrative medicine.

But not all forms of yoga are suitable for cancer patients. That’s why the Hartford Healthcare Cancer Institute has partnered with Tari Prinster, a cancer survivor and founder of yoga4cancer (also known as y4c), to conduct a pilot and feasibility study on this type of yoga for our patients.

What is y4c? It’s a specialized yoga method focusing on the physical needs of cancer patients resulting from both the disease and its treatment. This combination of breath and movement improves well-being by stimulating the immune system, enhancing strength and flexibility and reducing anxiety.

“At first glance,” says Prinster, “the idea of yoga for cancer patients undergoing treatment or in survivorship seems a logical step to manage anxiety, gain strength, increase flexibility and create feelings of well-being. Those should be the goals and ‘job’ of every cancer patient and survivor — along with keeping their immune system strong to avoid a recurrence. Based on evidence and research, all these good things can happen with yoga.”

There’s little doubt that yoga is good for cancer patients. In a 2018 evaluation of 138 studies, the NIH’s Center for Complementary and Integrative Health found most studies revealed yoga improved “patients’ physical and psychological symptoms and quality of life.”

The Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute now wants to assess the feasibility of adding y4c to our comprehensive cancer program. Our goals include:

1)    Training high-quality yoga providers in the y4c method,

2)    Developing an approved protocol that would begin assess changes in activities of daily living and quality of live,

3)    Enrolling cancer patients into the hospital-based y4c program.

Although we support the practice of yoga for cancer patients, there have been concerns about the varying levels of training, certification and expertise of practitioners,. That can make it difficult for patients, families and clinicians to select an appropriate yoga style during and after the patient’s medical treatment.

Many patients and members of the Cancer Institute health care team have also expressed a desire for greater high-quality data on the types of yoga, dose (duration and intensity) and the assessment of clinical benefit through documentation of pain, anxiety, concomitant use of medications and the potential benefits to overall quality of life.

We now have five y4c-trained yoga providers who will participate in our pilot y4c program. Starting in September, y4c will again be offered at our cancer centers:

  • Bone & Joint Institute Yoga Studio on the Hartford Hospital campus.
  • The Hospital of Central Connecticut on the Plainville Campus.
  • MidState Hospital in Meriden.

If you’re interested in learning more about y4c or participating in out pilot and feasibility study at one of our Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute locations, call 860.972.4444 or email therapies.integrative@hhchealth.org.

Dr. Eric R. Secor Jr. is the Associate Medical Director, Integrative Medicine, at Hartford Hospital.

 


What's New

Exercise Program

New Twist for Cancer Survivors: Exercise Makes a Difference

So much of cancer seems beyond your control, but staying as active as possible can be key to managing the side effects of the disease and treatment and improving survival. Gretchin Bade, a physical therapist and program director of oncology with the Hartford Hospital Rehabilitation Network, cited at least 20...

Head and Neck Cancer Rehab

Why Head and Neck Cancer Patients Need Speech, Swallow Rehabilitation

By Nicole Silva Speech Language Pathologist Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute According to the American Cancer Society, head and neck cancer accounts for approximately 65,000 cases annually. In the United States, about 3 percent of all cancers are head and neck cancer . Patients with head and neck cancer often face...

Cancer Navigator

Find Out How Navigators Can Help on Your Cancer Journey

The diagnosis, the appointments, the blood work, the imaging tests – hearing the words “breast cancer” can be overwhelming enough but adding the related tasks can make you shut down emotionally. That’s why Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute locations offer breast cancer patients the help of nurse navigators who are involved...

Yoga for Cancer

A Healthier You: Cancer Institute Fall Classes, Events

2019 Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute Fall Calendar Here’s your guide to all of our upcoming fall events: Community Education and Support Programs Bereavement Support Oct. 23,  Nov. 13&27 2- 3:30 pm Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute at Backus Hospital 326 Washington St., Norwich, Conference Room 2 To register, call 1.855.HHC.HERE (1.855.442.4373)...

Women doing yoga workout at gym

Living With a Cancer Diagnosis as an Older Adult

According to the National Cancer Institute, age is the greatest risk factor for developing cancer. In fact, 60 percent  of people who have cancer are 65 or older. So are 60 percent of cancer survivors. If you are an older adult with cancer, you should know that age is just...

Cancer Survivorship Plan

What Is a Cancer Survivorship Care Plan?

By Deborah Walker, APRN Over a decade ago, the Institute of Medicine recommended every cancer patient receive an individual survivorship care plan that includes guidelines for monitoring and maintaining their health. This recommendation was developed from a prominent report, “From Cancer Patient to Cancer Survivor: Lost in Transition,” which focused...


This Simple Saliva Test Assesses Breast Cancer Risk

By Meghan Burgess Breast cancer has a particularly high prevalence in Connecticut, but a new program is helping women and men identify their risk of developing the disease – and other cancers – through a simple questionnaire and saliva test. The Hereditary Cancer Risk Assessment Program, offered through Hartford HealthCare...