Five-year survival rates for early-stage colorectal, breast and prostate cancer currently exceed 90% and are increasing. Cancer survivors are at greater risk for second malignancies, other co-morbidities, and accelerated functional decline. Lifestyle interventions may provide benefit, but it is unknown whether long-term cancer survivors can modify their lifestyle behaviors sufficiently to improve functional status.
To determine whether a telephone counseling and mailed material-based diet-exercise intervention is effective in reorienting functional decline in older, overweight cancer survivors.
Randomized controlled trial in which survivors were randomly assigned to intervention (Intervention, n=319) or delayed-intervention control arms (Control, n=322).
Home-based from Canada, United Kingdom and 21 United States
641 overweight (body mass index [BMI] ≥ 25), long-term (≥ 5 years) survivors (ages 65–91) of colorectal, breast and prostate cancer recruited July 2005-May 2007.
12-month home-based tailored program of telephone counseling and mailed materials promoting exercise, improved diet quality, and modest weight loss. Control group wait-listed for 12 months.
Main Outcome Measures
Change in self-reported physical function (SF-36 physical function subscale: 0–100, high score indicates better function) from baseline to 12 months was the primary endpoint. Secondary outcomes included changes in basic and advanced lower extremity function (0–100), physical activity, BMI, and overall health quality-of-life.
From an average baseline score of 75.7 to 12-month follow-up, SF-36 function scores declined less rapidly in Intervention [−2.15(95% CI-0.36,−3.93)] versus Control [−4.84(−3.04,−6.63)] arms (p=0.03). Likewise, changes in basic lower extremity function were +0.34(−0.84,1.52) versus −1.89(−0.70,−3.09) from an average baseline score of 78.2, p=0.005. Physical activity, dietary behaviors and overall quality of life increased significantly in Intervention versus Control arms, and weight loss also was greater, −2.06(−1.69, −2.43) versus −0.92 (−0.51,−1.33) kg, respectively (p<0.0001).
Among older long-term colorectal, breast, and prostate cancer survivors, a diet and exercise intervention reduced the rate of self-reported functional decline compared to no intervention.