A Pilot Study of a Healthy Lifestyle Self-Management Intervention with Cancer Survivors (#178)
Cancer survivors are a growing population with increased risks of developing chronic disease following treatment. However, little is known about how they self-manage lifestyle risk factors or how this can be enhanced. This study aimed to determine feasibility and efficacy of a healthy lifestyle self-management care planning intervention focused on nutrition and exercise for patients with cancer treated with curative intent. Participants were men and women diagnosed with solid tumours, either within 4 weeks of commencement of chemotherapy (stratum 1) or within 8 weeks of completion of active treatment which included chemotherapy (+/- radiotherapy or surgery) (stratum 2). The Flinders Living Well Self-Management Program was utilised to establish patient-identified problems, patient-led nutrition and exercise goals and a tailored 12-week intervention to support survivors. Reviews of progress occurred fortnightly. Anthrometric assessments occurred at baseline, 6 and 12 weeks. The EORTC-QLQ-c30 measured global quality of life (QOL), role functions and individual cancer-specific symptom domains.
Twenty cancer survivors participated in the study (S1 = 9; S2 = 11). Most were women with breast cancer (80%). Weight was identified as their most significant problem (n=9), followed by body image, cancer, fitness, smoking, motivation, work-life commitments and physical ability. Problem ratings improved; however, statistical significance was not achieved due to the small sample. Goal achievement showed statistical significance (p=0.01) across the total sample, particularly so for nutrition goals. QOL measures of emotional functioning showed statistical significance improvement (p=0.05) for the total sample, and global health, physical functioning and social functioning also showed statistically significant improvement for stratum 2. Stratum 1 showed clinically significant worsening of insomnia and fatigue, as expected given participants in this stratum were in the active phase of chemotherapy treatment.
Despite strata differences in magnitude and type of effect, self-management interventions appeared beneficial for both groups. Those currently receiving chemotherapy appeared to benefit from early intervention to promote healthy lifestyle self-management.