Original Article

Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 17, Issue 10, pp 1301-1309

First online:

Yoga of Awareness program for menopausal symptoms in breast cancer survivors: results from a randomized trial

  • James W. CarsonAffiliated withDepartment of Anesthesiology and Peri-operative Medicine, Oregon Health & Science University Email author 
  • , Kimberly M. CarsonAffiliated with
  • , Laura S. PorterAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Duke University Medical Center
  • , Francis J. KeefeAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Duke University Medical Center
  • , Victoria L. SeewaldtAffiliated withDepartment of Medicine, Duke University Medical Center

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Goal of work

Breast cancer survivors have limited options for the treatment of hot flashes and related symptoms. Further, therapies widely used to prevent recurrence in survivors, such as tamoxifen, tend to induce or exacerbate menopausal symptoms. The aim of this preliminary, randomized controlled trial was to evaluate the effects of a yoga intervention on menopausal symptoms in a sample of survivors of early-stage breast cancer (stages IA–IIB).

Materials and methods

Thirty-seven disease-free women experiencing hot flashes were randomized to the 8-week Yoga of Awareness program (gentle yoga poses, meditation, and breathing exercises) or to wait-list control. The primary outcome was daily reports of hot flashes collected at baseline, posttreatment, and 3 months after treatment via an interactive telephone system. Data were analyzed by intention to treat.

Main results

At posttreatment, women who received the yoga program showed significantly greater improvements relative to the control condition in hot-flash frequency, severity, and total scores and in levels of joint pain, fatigue, sleep disturbance, symptom-related bother, and vigor. At 3 months follow-up, patients maintained their treatment gains in hot flashes, joint pain, fatigue, symptom-related bother, and vigor and showed additional significant gains in negative mood, relaxation, and acceptance.


This pilot study provides promising support for the beneficial effects of a comprehensive yoga program for hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms in early-stage breast cancer survivors.


Breast cancer Hot flashes Pain Yoga Meditation