Doctors say yoga can help prostate cancer patients

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Some local doctors say yoga holds a lot of promise for helping some men get through cancer care. (WPVI)

Some local doctors say yoga holds a lot of promise for helping some men get through cancer care.

Frank Falcone never dreamed he'd get hooked on yoga.

"Being a man, yoga is for women - oh, I'm so wrong!" he said.

After his prostate cancer diagnosis, Falcone was concerned about possible side effects from radiation treatment, like urinary issues or fatigue.

"It's different from the fatigue we think of in everyday life," said Dr. Vapiwala.

So he volunteered for an experiment: Yoga classes twice a week right before or after his treatment.

There's a long record of proven benefits of yoga therapy for breast cancer, but none for the quarter million men diagnosed with prostate cancer every year.

At Penn Medicine, they teach Eischens yoga, which uses simplified poses to strengthen the pelvic floor - the muscles which support abdominal organs.

"We wanted to pick something that was achievable and within read for somebody who has never even thought about bending down and touching his toes," said Dr. Vapiwala.

Falcone admits he never exercised before, and went into the yoga thinking he was too busy for it.

He changed his mind fast.

"All I knew is that I felt better, and it had to be the yoga. It worked like magic," he said.

Falcone began exercising beyond the yoga, doing a variety of classes and he credits it for keeping side effects at bay.

"I didn't realize I had cancer, because I felt good," he said.

Overall, men in the study had similar results, reporting fewer side effects from treatment.

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