|UAB Expands Exercise Study for Breast Cancer Survivors|
July 24, 2013
UAB is enrolling another 40 women in its study to help breast-cancer survivors begin and sustain an exercise program that can improve their quality of life.
Fifteen years ago, so little was known about cancer that many oncologists focused almost exclusively on getting patients through grueling treatments. That is no longer the case.
Because many treatments have become targeted and highly specialized, and patients — including those with breast cancer — are living longer. This brings a new focus on improving the quality of life after treatment, says Laura Rogers, M.D., professor in the UAB Department of Nutrition Sciences and principal investigator of the study that began in February.
“We’re trying to give breast-cancer survivors the tools they need to start an exercise program, and we want to determine the paths that lead them to continue exercising after treatment has ended,” Rogers said. “We want to know what kind of support they need.”
The Better Exercise Adherence after Treatment for Cancer (BEAT Cancer) study is funded by a $3.5-million federal grant from the National Cancer Institute. Researchers are enrolling women diagnosed with breast-cancer who have finished treatment but are not engaged in a regular exercise program.
Rogers said researchers hope to determine if patients need one-on-one engagement, a support group atmosphere or a combination.
During the program’s first six weeks, participants will receive coaching from an exercise specialist and learn to use a heart-rate monitor. Volunteers must maintain their own exercise regimen at home in the final weeks of the program, but an exercise specialist will be available for support.
Study participants will have follow-up visits at three, six and 12 months. Participants will be compensated $50 for their initial assessment and after each of the three other evaluations. Women who are not assigned to receive the program will receive three free exercise sessions with a cancer exercise trainer at the end of the study.
Rogers hopes the study will lead to the creation of educational training materials that can be used in cancer centers nationwide to help staff incorporate these interventions with their patients.