Yoga in adult cancer: A pilot survey of attitudes and beliefs among oncologists
McCall M., Ward A., Heneghan C.
© 2015 Multimed Inc. Background Depending on interest, knowledge, and skills, oncologists are adapting clinical behaviour to include integrative approaches, supporting patients to make informed complementary care decisions. The present study sought to improve the knowledge base in three ways: • Test the acceptability of a self-reported online survey for oncologists. • Provide preliminary data collection concerning knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, and current referral practices among oncologists with respect to yoga in adult cancer. • List the perceived benefits of and barriers to yoga intervention from a clinical perspective. Methods A 38-item self-report questionnaire was administered online to medical, radiation, and surgical oncologists in British Columbia. Results Some of the 29 oncologists who completed the survey (n = 10) reported having recommended yoga to patients to improve physical activity, fatigue, stress, insomnia, and muscle or joint stiffness. Other responding oncologists were hesitant or unlikely to suggest yoga for their patients because they had no knowledge of yoga as a therapy (n = 15) or believed that scientific evidence to support its use is lacking (n = 11). All 29 respondents would recommend that their patients participate in a clinical trial to test the efficacy of yoga. In qualitative findings, oncologists compared yoga with exercise and suggested that it might have similar psychological and physical health benefits that would improve patient capacity to endure treatment. Barriers to and limitations of yoga in adult cancer are also discussed. Conclusions An online self-report survey is feasible, but has response rate limitations. A small number of oncologists are currently recommending yoga to improve health-related outcomes in adult cancer. Respondents would support clinical yoga interventions to improve the evidence base in cancer patients, including men and women in all tumour groups.