Patient-reported outcomes in cancer survivors: a single-subject exploratory experimental study of the effects of a yoga therapy intervention


Cancer is a chronic condition associated with poorer patient-reported outcomes (PROs) post-treatment. Investigating interventions that could improve PROs is important to reduce the symptom burden associated with cancer. We investigated the effects of a yoga therapy (YT) intervention on PROs among adults after cancer treatment. A single-subject exploratory experimental study was conducted to evaluate the effects of a YT intervention comprised of a single 1:1 YT session followed by 6 weekly group-based YT sessions (2-3 participants/group). PROs (cancer-related fatigue [CRF], depression, stress, cognitive function, quality of life [QoL]) were assessed before, during, and after the YT intervention. Data from 20 adults (Mage=55.74, 85% women; Myears since diagnosis=2.83) were analyzed using multilevel modeling. The model for CRF showed significant time, phase, and time-by-phase effects; the time effect indicates levels linearly decreased by 1.59 at each time point across the study, the phase effect indicates levels decreased by 3.88 immediately after 1:1 YT, and the time-by-phase effect indicates a larger decrease in CRF over time once YT was introduced. The model for perceived cognitive impairments, impacts of perceived cognitive impairments on QoL, and functional wellbeing showed significant time effects; levels increased linearly by 2.16, 0.72, and 0.75 at each time point. No improvements were observed for remaining PROs. Whilst results require confirmation in future trials, they support continued investigation into 1:1 and group-based YT to improve specific PROs after cancer treatment. Research on mechanisms through which YT improves PROs and factors that moderate response to YT is needed.