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Keywords:

  • oncology;
  • colorectal;
  • cancer survivor;
  • lifestyle;
  • psychosocial;
  • intervention

Abstract

Objective: To investigate the feasibility and short-term effectiveness of a lifestyle intervention for colorectal cancer (CRC) survivors.

Methods: CanChange was telephone-delivered to 20 CRC survivors by health coaches over 6 weeks supported by an interactive participant handbook. We assessed program feasibility (program retention and satisfaction) and health outcomes [CRC-specific symptoms (fatigue, nausea, diarrhoea), quality of life (QOL), and lifestyle variables (physical activity, dietary intake, alcohol intake, smoking, body mass index (BMI))] at baseline and post-intervention.

Results: Post-intervention, 76% of participants rated the program as excellent, 100% rated the health coach as excellent, and 75% rated the handbook as excellent. In addition, 80% said that CanChange addressed their issues, 72% said that CanChange helped them deal more effectively with their problems, and 100% said that CanChange made them more motivated to make positive life changes. Finally, all participants said that they would recommend CanChange to other CRC survivors.

From baseline to post-intervention we observed: non-significant improvements in all CRC-specific symptoms and QOL; a significant decrease in processed meat intake [median (interquartile range): 1.0 (3.0) vs 0.0 (1.0), p=0.01]; as well as non-significant improvements in sedentary behaviour, and the proportion of participants meeting the national guidelines for fruit and vegetable intake. We observed no change in smoking status, while the results for alcohol intake, physical activity, and BMI were variable.

Conclusions: CanChange was a feasible and potentially effective lifestyle intervention to improve health outcomes for CRC survivors. A large randomised controlled trial will follow to test the longer-term effects of this approach. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.