Obesity, body fat and lack of physical activity and cancer incidence are linked. For cancer survivors, these factors contribute to poorer disease and health-related outcomes. We aimed to determine the feasibility of implementing a weight management program for overweight/obese cancer survivors in an outpatient setting.
Overweight/obese (BMI ≥25kg/m2) adults who had completed treatment for localised cancer and ENRICH (6-week lifestyle program), were eligible. Intervention: i) clinic consultations (3); ii) supervised exercise sessions (2x/week); and, iii) dietary sessions (12) over 6 months. Assessments: baseline, 3 (mid-intervention), 6 (post-intervention) months. Primary outcome was adherence. Secondary outcomes: body composition, physical activity, nutritional quality, patient reported outcomes (PROs), biomarkers, and qualitative interview.
Twelve women were recruited, median age 56 (45-71) years. Tumour groups: breast 67%, colorectal 25%, and Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (8%). At baseline: 3 participants were overweight (BMI ≥ 25-29.9kg/m2), 9 obese (≥30kg/m2); 9 had 1+ comorbidity. Participants attended 97% of clinics, 71% of exercise and 81% of dietary sessions. Post-intervention, mean weight loss was 4.9kg (range +0.1 to -19.6kg) and 5% reduction of initial body weight. Waist circumference reduced by 3.8cm (-13.2 - 4.8cm), total body fat mass 3%, and lean body mass 2% increase. Improvements in aerobic fitness (mean +6ml/kg/min) and maximal leg strength (mean +33kg) were seen. Post-intervention, participants had reduced daily nutritional energy intake by 270kJ; 25% met daily fruit and vegetable recommendations. No changes were seen in PROs or biomarkers (fasting glucose, IGF-1, cholesterol, C-reactive protein). Participant’s identified support from program staff and other participants, and program tailored to their needs as facilitators of adherence.
This study confirms that overweight and obese cancer survivors are willing to attend an intensive weight management program. The program enabled positive changes to weight, body composition, fitness and nutritional quality. Longer follow up will provide data on sustained changes.