Virtual Classes, Real Benefits

Cancer treatments like surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation involve travel to facilities. But what we do at home can amplify treatment’s benefits and decrease its side effects.

A recent clinical trial shows that participants in virtual mind-body fitness classes r eported less fatigue, less depression, and fewer physical symptoms related to cancer treatment, compared to people who did not take the classes. They also were less likely to be hospitalized, and those who were hospitalized had shorter stays.

The study, done at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, tested a program called Integrative Medicine at Home (IM@Home). Delivered over Zoom, the program’s 20+ live classes included movement-based activities like yoga and meditation-based practices like mindfulness.

The researchers were surprised to learn that IM@ Home participants also had fewer visits to urgent care centers than people who did not participate.

This early-phase trial builds on past research, including one study in which yoga helped improve quality of life in men with prostate cancer, and another in which mindfulness meditation reduced depression in younger women with breast cancer.

The success of IM@Home shows that cancer patients can benefit from classes delivered virtually. The research was inspired by constraints resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, when many facilities converted their programs to virtual formats.

RBOI offers virtual support groups and guided meditation sessions in addition to in-person meetings. Give us a call to learn more.

Groups for Women New to Treatment

RBOI’s two new Women’s Cancer Support groups invite those currently in cancer treatment or maintenance care, or who have recently completed care. We focus on making connections and encouraging each other in a supportive, positive environment.

The Lecanto group meets on the first Thursday of each month from 2-3 PM at 522 N Lecanto Hwy. Wendy Hall, LCSW, facilitates. For more information call 352-527-0106 or email

The Ocala group meets on the second Thursday of each month from 2-3 PM at 2020 SE 17th St. Amy Roberts, LCSW, facilitates. For more information call 352-732-0277 or email

Please call ahead to confirm attendance.

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Robert Boissoneault Oncology Institute