With a 1 and 2 lifetime risk of diagnosis, cancer is a highly prevalent disease. Cancer and its treatment are associated with long term mental and physical side effects that impair physical, vocational, and social role functioning. In order to provide excellent care for veterans, rehabilitative strategies to improve mental and physical health after cancer treatment need empirical study. The objective of the proposed pilot project is to create a Veterans'Yoga Rehabilitation Program (VYRP) for cancer survivors who receive care in VHA, that is based on an existing evidence based protocol which is systemically adapted, marketed, and tested in a veteran population, with 3 aims:
Aim 1 : Enhancing Acceptability To determine factors that will increase participation in the VYRP in VHA patients after treatment for cancer, who are primarily male and older than age 60.
Aim 2 : Adapting to Veterans To create the VYRP protocol by adapting an empirically supported Yoga protocol to the needs of veterans.
Aim 3 : Evaluating Efficacy To evaluate the efficacy of the VYRP for improving health related quality of life in four domain, and, to determine if efficacy varies as a function of patient age or pre-existing PTSD. The long term goal is to develop an evidence based mind-body Yoga intervention to support healing and restore function in VHA patients for use after treatment for cancer.

Public Health Relevance

With advances in the detection and treatment of cancer, there are now 11 million cancer survivors in the U.S., 500,000 of whom are veterans treated in VHA. The mental and physical health consequences of cancer and its treatment may impair a veteran's functioning and re-integration back into family, work, and daily life. Recent studies suggest that yoga may be an effective intervention for improving both the physical and mental health of individuals after cancer, although this has not been studied in veterans. This study will (1) Determine factors that increase participation in Yoga by veterans;(2) Create a Yoga protocol for veterans adapted from an existing empirically supported treatment;(3) Evaluate the efficacy of Yoga for improving fatigue, insomnia, anxiety, and depression after treatment for colorectal cancer.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Veterans Affairs (VA)
Non-HHS Research Projects (I01)
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Psychological Health & Social Reintegration (RRD4)
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VA Boston Health Care System
United States
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King, Katherine; Gosian, Jeffrey; Doherty, Kelly et al. (2014) Implementing yoga therapy adapted for older veterans who are cancer survivors. Int J Yoga Therap 24:87-96
King, Katherine; Gosian, Jeffrey; Doherty, Kelly et al. (2014) Implementing Yoga Therapy Adapted for Older Veterans Who Are Cancer Survivors. Int J Yoga Therap 24:87-96