Abstract

Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) causes significant pain and is an adverse effect of treatment with chemotherapeutic agents. We explored a somatic yoga and meditation intervention in a predominantly minority population. Goals included describing strategies for minority inclusion and testing feasibility and effectiveness. Eight individuals with CIPN enrolled in a single-arm feasibility trial. Somatic yoga and meditation were provided weekly for 8 weeks, with an additional home program component. The primary outcomes were Sit and Reach, Functional Reach, and Timed Up and Go. Secondary outcomes were Patient Neurotoxicity Questionnaire, FACT-GOG-Ntx (for addressing patient concerns associated with neurological symptoms), Brief Pain Inventory, Perceived Stress Scale, Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, and Falls Efficacy Scale. Sensitivity to vibration was measured via biothesiometer. Participants with a mean age of 65 (49–73) years self-reported as 63% African-American and 37% Caucasian. They attended 81% of the sessions, and no adverse events were reported. CIPN symptoms (FACT-GOG-Ntx) improved significantly (from 88.88 to 106.88, standard deviation = 20.03; p = 0.039). Fear of falling improved, approaching significance (from 39.26 to 34.38, standard deviation = 6.081; p = 0.058). Other measures showed improvement trends, with a slight increase in Brief Pain Inventory pain severity (from 3.50 to 3.75, p = 0.041) possibly reflecting comorbidities. Four qualitative themes emerged: (1) CIPN symptom variability, with musculoskeletal comorbidities; (2) utility of learned skills; (3) improvement in self-confidence, balance, and stability; and (4) social support, with CIPN experience validation and increasing health literacy. Challenges of recruitment and retention require specific outreach, community trust, and health literacy. Preliminary data suggest that somatic yoga and meditation may affect fear of falling and quality of life in cancer survivors with CIPN. A randomized controlled trial using inclusive recruitment and retention methods is indicated to establish the intervention's efficacy.

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