Yoga in adult cancer: An exploratory, qualitative analysis of the patient experience
© 2015 McCall et al. Background: Some patients receiving treatment in conventional health care systems access therapeutic yoga outside their mainstream care to improve cancer symptoms. Given the current knowledge gap around patient preferences and documented experiences of yoga in adult cancer, this study aimed to describe patient-reported benefits, barriers and characteristics of programming for yoga practice during conventional treatment. Methods: In depth semi-structured interviews (n = 10) were conducted in men and women recruited from cancer care clinics in Vancouver, Canada using a purposive sampling technique. The exploratory interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed and analyzed using Interpretive Description methodology and constant comparative analysis methods. Results: Four themes emerged from the data to address our research objectives: patient-perceived benefits of yoga, reasons and motivations for practising yoga, hurdles and barriers to practising yoga, and advice for effective yoga program delivery in adult cancer. Several patients reported yoga reduced stress and other symptoms associated with cancer treatment. Thematic analysis found the social dimension of group yoga was important, as well as yoga's ability to encourage personal empowerment and awareness of physical body and self. Barriers to yoga adherence from the patient perspective included lack of time, scheduling conflicts and worries about financial burden. Conclusion: This small, diverse sample of patients reported positive experiences and no adverse effects following yoga practice for management of cancer and its symptoms. Results of this qualitative study identified patient-reported preferences, barriers and characteristics of yoga intervention optimal during adult cancer treatment.