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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2011, Article ID 623168, 8 pages
Research Article

Yoga for Persistent Fatigue in Breast Cancer Survivors: Results of a Pilot Study

1Department of Psychology, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA
2Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA
3Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology, Semel Institute, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA
4Division of Cancer Prevention and Control Research, Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA
5Pediatric Pain Program, Mattel Children's Hospital, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA

Received 17 May 2010; Revised 1 September 2010; Accepted 7 October 2010

Copyright © 2011 Julienne E. Bower et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Approximately one-third of breast cancer survivors experiences persistent fatigue for months or years after successful treatment completion. There is a lack of evidence-based treatments for cancer-related fatigue, particularly among cancer survivors. This single-arm pilot study evaluated the feasibility and preliminary efficacy of a yoga intervention for fatigued breast cancer survivors based on the Iyengar tradition. Iyengar yoga prescribes specific poses for individuals with specific medical problems and conditions; this trial emphasized postures believed to be effective for reducing fatigue among breast cancer survivors, including inversions and backbends performed with the support of props. Twelve women were enrolled in the trial, and 11 completed the full 12-week course of treatment. There was a significant improvement in fatigue scores from pre- to post-intervention that was maintained at the 3-month post-intervention followup. Significant improvements were also observed in measures of physical function, depressed mood, and quality of life. These results support the acceptability of this intervention and suggest that it may have beneficial effects on persistent post-treatment fatigue. However, results require replication in a larger randomized controlled trial.