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Yoga, breast cancer-related lymphoedema and well-being: A descriptive report of women’s participation in a clinical trial


Loudon, A and Barnett, T and Williams, A, Yoga, breast cancer-related lymphoedema and well-being: A descriptive report of women's participation in a clinical trial, Journal of Cinical Nursing, 26, (23-24) pp. 4685-4695. ISSN 0962-1067 (2017) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

© 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd

DOI: doi:10.1111/jocn.13819


Aims and objectives: To describe the experiences of women taking part in a yoga intervention trial for breast cancer-related lymphoedema.

Background: Around 20% of women will experience lymphoedema as a consequence of treatment for breast cancer. Specialist lymphoedema clearing, along with self-management, remains the mainstay of therapy. Yoga, an increasingly popular complementary therapeutic practice, may provide another tool to augment self-management.

Design: A qualitative, descriptive design.

Methods: Interviews were conducted with 15 women with stage one breast cancer-related lymphoedema who had completed an 8-week yoga intervention trial. The intervention consisted of a weekly teacher-led 1.5-hr yoga class and a daily home practice using a 45-min DVD. Interviews were audio-taped and transcribed. These data were then analysed using an iterative-thematic approach.

Results: Participants reported improved well-being, increased awareness of their physical body as well as improved physical, mental and social functioning. They gained from being part of the yoga group that also provided a forum for them to share their experiences. Nine women felt empowered to describe their yoga participation as a transformative journey through illness.

Conclusion: When safe to do so, the holistic practice of yoga may augment and provide additional benefit to current self-management and treatment practices for women with breast cancer-related lymphoedema.

Relevance to clinical practice: Patients with breast cancer-related lymphoedema may seek advice and guidance from nurses and other healthcare professionals on a range of complementary therapies to help relieve symptoms and promote recovery. Patients who choose to augment their treatment of breast cancer-related lymphoedema by practicing yoga should be carefully assessed, be taught an appropriate technique by a qualified yoga teacher/therapist and its impact monitored by their yoga teacher/therapist, breast care nurse, lymphoedema therapist or treating clinician.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:breast cancer, exercise, journey, lymphoedema, nursing, well-being, women, yoga
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Traditional, complementary and integrative medicine
Research Field:Traditional, complementary and integrative medicine not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Clinical health
Objective Field:Clinical health not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Loudon, A (Ms Annette Loudon)
UTAS Author:Barnett, T (Associate Professor Tony Barnett)
UTAS Author:Williams, A (Associate Professor Andrew Williams)
ID Code:118386
Year Published:2017
Deposited By:UTAS Centre for Rural Health
Deposited On:2017-07-11
Last Modified:2018-12-13

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