Basen-Engquist and her team intend to enroll 270 participants into the study, each of whom will personally record her physical activity for six months using a portable personal computer. Researchers will build on the body of evidence gleaned from a five-week pilot study conducted before the official launch of the Steps to Health study.
"Our team is interested in assisting participants with the actual process of initiating and incorporating physical activity into daily life," said Basen-Engquist. "We hope to discover individual traits and tools that enable certain people to stay with an exercise plan better than others."
In addition to bimonthly assessments, M. D. Anderson researchers will mail information regarding goal setting and fitness tools to all participants and provide weekly telephone counseling.
Study leaders will use social cognitive theory, which measures how individuals adopt and maintain behavioral patterns, in developing intervention strategies for participants.
"By participating in the Steps to Health pilot study, I developed an increased awareness of how essential exercise really is to maintain health," said Maureen Hughes, endometrial cancer survivor. "It is easy to keep putting exercise off, but when I was presented with all the information, I couldn't deny its importance for my well-being."
While researchers will measure physical and biological changes in participants, they also will evaluate self-efficacy, or survivors' confidence that they can succeed. Researchers also plan to determine the level of support participants need to exercise and feel successful.
According to the American Cancer Society, approximately 41,200 women in the United States will be diagnosed with endometrial cancer in 2006 and approximately 7,350 of these women will die from the disease, making it the most commonly diagnosed cancer of the female reproductive organs.
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