Cancer affects more than 4,600 people in the U.S. every day. An estimated 1.7 million Americans will be newly diagnosed in 2018, and globally the number of new cases topped 14.1 million in 2012. Half of men and one-third of women will receive a cancer diagnosis during their lifetimes.
Despite advancements in treatment, cancer patients and survivors continue to face unique challenges to their physical and mental health, some of which persist for decades after initial treatment. Cancer survivors are more likely than those without a cancer history to experience poor health and disabilities. Survivors, defined as are more susceptible to other illness, report increased anxiety, and experience disruptions in daily functioning and family life.
Cancer takes a toll on survivors’ financial security, as well as their contribution to the overall economy. In 2014, cancer patients paid nearly $4 billion out of pocket for cancer treatments. In addition to the burden on individuals, the American Cancer Society reports that cancer alone is responsible for $115.8 billion in lost productivity, projected to reach $147.6 billion in 2020. Treatment and lingering health problems cause patients to reduce work hours, decline promotional opportunities, and take unplanned early retirement. For 27% of cancer survivors, financial hardships include reduced disposable income, increased debt, and/or bankruptcy.
Cost-effective and impactful interventions are essential to help individuals manage the devastating impacts of cancer. Yoga is an effective, low-cost cancer management tool that has been shown to improve mortality rates, support individual health and well-being, and reduce health care costs and lost productivity due to cancer. Yoga programs for cancer patients and survivors must be accessible, professionally-led, and supported by oncology team members as well as institutions and health benefits systems.
An excerpt of the ‘Yoga Interventions for Cancer Patients and Survivors‘, a white paper funded in part by The Retreat Project.