Case study

Improving cancer treatment

Yoga for cancer patients

Can yoga improve gynaecological cancer patients’ quality of life?

Potentially important discoveries about cancer treatments have been made at the University of Derby by our biological sciences researchers. The first UK-based randomised controlled clinical trial of yoga for gynaecological cancer patients was led by Dr Heidi Sowter, our Reader in Oncology. This demonstrated that yoga could improve patients’ health, wellbeing and quality of life.

Some gynaecological cancers are difficult to treat and have lower recovery rates than other cancers so any intervention that improves quality of life is important.

Heidi Sowter doing yoga poses.
Dr Heidi Sowter led the yoga study.

The trial found that yoga significantly contributed to these patients’ quality of life, with many continuing weekly yoga sessions after the trial. Patients put together a book about their positive experiences of yoga during the trial and the trial’s findings have been promoted on local and regional radio, raising awareness among other gynaecological cancer patients.

Student involvement: PhD student Dr Stephanie Archer was responsible for the day-to-day running of the trial. She is now a post-doctoral scientist at Imperial College London and an associate psychology lecturer at our University.

Heidi Sowter doing yoga poses.

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