Predictors of yoga use among patients with breast cancer

Research suggests that yoga may reduce symptoms and improve quality of life among breast cancer patients.

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania Health System, in Philadelphia, identified their characteristics.

First, the details.

  • 300 postmenopausal breast cancer patients currently receiving aromatase inhibitors (drugs that stop estrogen production in post-menopausal women) were studied.
  • The women recorded their use of yoga following the cancer diagnosis along with social, demographic, and clinical data.

And, the results.

  • 18% of the patients reported using yoga following their cancer diagnosis.
  • White patients were significantly more likely to use yoga than nonwhite patients.
  • Higher education level, lower BMI (body mass index), part-time employment status, previous chemotherapy, and radiation therapy were all associated with greater yoga use.
  • After controlling for potentially confounding factors, greater yoga use was independently associated with higher education level and lower BMI.

The bottom line?

The authors concluded, “Yoga use following breast cancer diagnosis was substantially higher for white patients and those with lower BMI and higher education levels.”

These demographics are similar to those listed in a national survey of yoga users.

  • Caucasian: 85%
  • Female: 76%
  • Average age: 40 years
  • More likely college educated

11/12/10 19:49 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.