External beam radiation treatment in prostate cancer patients affects both cancer cells and healthy cells. The side effects of radiation range from urinary changes, blood in urine, rectal bleeding, fatigue, painful bowel movements, sexual and erectile dysfunction, and much more. Research suggests that yoga can help prostate cancer patients deal with the treatment side effects of the disease.
Sometimes the side effects can become extreme and immediate action has to be taken as follows:
- Communicating with the doctor to find better ways of managing the side effects of the treatment of prostate cancer and improve the quality of life of the patient while avoiding any long term complications that may arise.
- Empowering patients to deal with their situation using yoga. A pilot study showed that prostate cancer patients under radiation therapy could have yoga classes twice a week to combat the side effects of the radiation. The phase II trial had patients taking yoga classes twice weekly during treatment. The results for patients who took yoga classes showed a significant reduction in the pre-existing radiation-related fatigue and sexual and urinary dysfunction in the prostate cancer patients. Therefore yoga helped them to cope with the side effects of the treatment.
- Yoga helps prostate cancer and other cancer patients to cope with treatment side effects. Engaging in gentle stretching and deep breathing techniques allow patients to relax, enhance their pliability and balancing skills and raise their body’s awareness.
- Besides promoting physical flexibility, yoga lowers depression and anxiety, provides calm, helps to cope with stress and treatments like radiation and chemotherapy, increases inner strength, gives peace mind and improves the quality of life of the patients.
- Stress and worry can cause adverse effects on the body’s immune system. Yoga helps them to develop serenity and become confident in managing stress to help the body respond positively. When this happens, the body system will function normally, and the immune system will be free to perform as it should and help the body to survive longer.
Prostate cancer patients interested in alternative modalities should embrace yoga because the classes are readily available and their practices such as tai chi and medication help to boost anti-cancer properties.