198722 Yoga use among breast cancer patients: Exploring racial disparity

Monday, November 9, 2009: 1:10 PM

Krupali Desai, MD(Ayu), MPH(c) , School of Public Health, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA
Chanita Hughes-Halbert, PhD , Department of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
Elaine J. Yuen, PhD , Jefferson School of Population Health, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA
Mary Lou Galantino, PT, PhD, MSCE , Department of Physical Therapy, Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, Pomona, NJ
Sharon Xie, PhD , Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA
Jun J. Mao, MD, MSCE , Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, University of Pennsylvnaia Health System, Philadelphia, PA
Background: Emerging research suggests that yoga, a popular mind-body practice, may be beneficial for reducing symptoms and improving quality of life in breast cancer patients (BCP). However, very little is known about the socio-demographic and clinical characteristics of BCP who use yoga.

Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional survey study among outpatient postmenopausal BCP who were receiving aromatase inhibitors at the University of Pennsylvania. Sociodemographic and clinical data were collected along with self-reported use of yoga since the cancer diagnosis. Univariate analysis was used to identify the factors associated with the use of yoga among BCP.

Results: 300 patients participated (92% response rate), with a mean age of 61 +/- 10 years, 84% White, and 13% Black. Of the participants, 53 (17.7%) reported having used yoga since the cancer diagnosis. Black patients were significantly less likely to use yoga than White patients (4.4% vs. 20.2%, p=0.02). Lower level of education was also associated with decreased yoga use (high school or less 8.2%, college 19.7%, graduate or professional school 28.0%, p<0.001). Additionally, part-time employment status, stage II cancer, previous chemotherapy and radiation therapy were all associated with greater yoga use (all p<0.05).

Conclusion: Yoga use following breast cancer diagnosis was substantially lower for Black patients and those with lower educational levels. Considering its potential benefit for symptom management in cancer, more research is needed to elucidate the barriers to yoga use among Black BCP so that culturally sensitive community-based public health interventions can be developed to decrease racial disparities in cancer symptom management.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the emerging research on yoga among breast cancer patients for cancer-related symptom management. 2. Identify the sociodemographic and clinical characteristics of breast cancer patients who use yoga. 3. Demonstrate racial disparity in the use of yoga among breast cancer patients.

Keywords: Breast Cancer, Alternative Medicine/Therapies

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have an MD degree in Ayurvedic Medicine. I am currently a research assistant at University of Pennsylvania, working on studies assessing the role of complementary and alternative medicines, such as yoga and acupunture, in cancer symptom management. I am also pursuing my Masters of Public Health degree from Thomas Jefferson University.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.