They say a phone call can change your life and for colorectal or bowel cancer survivors this is true, a new study by a QUT researcher has found.
Associate Professor Anna Hawkes, from QUT's Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, evaluated the effects of a telephone delivered program called CanChange aimed at improving health outcomes for people diagnosed with bowel cancer.
The study was conducted at the Cancer Council Queensland and funded by the Australian Government, Cancer Australia.
The CanChange program targeted health behaviours such as levels of physical activity, weight management and diet as these are known to have a significant effect on physical functioning, quality of life and fatigue after a bowel cancer diagnosis. Importantly they may also affect the chance of cancer recurrence, and survival.
She said the study, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, found at the end of a 12 month trial that bowel cancer survivors who had received regular telephone support were more physically active, maintained their body weight and had a healthier diet.
The study compared the health behaviours of two groups of bowel cancer survivors, one of which participated in the CanChange program.
"After 12 months we found a significant and positive difference in the physical activity of people who participated in the CanChange program," she said.
"CanChange participants also maintained their body mass index (BMI) whereas those who didn't take part in the trial significantly increased their BMI. Participants also reduced their fat intake and increased their vegetable intake."
Associate Professor Hawkes said bowel cancer was a leading cause of illness and death in Australia and the western world.
"The five year survival rate has increased to 65 per cent, but survivors still face many physical and mental challenges that can have a significant effect on their quality of life,
|Contact: Sandra Hutchinson|
Queensland University of Technology