Studies in research settings have demonstrated that physical activity adoption among cancer survivors can improve their physical functioning, quality of life, mood and fatigue. As a first step towards translating these efforts into a community-setting, we conducted a pilot study to examine the feasibility and preliminary effects of a telephone-based physical activity program offered by community volunteers (specifically, Reach to Recovery [RTR] volunteers of the local office of the American Cancer Society [ACS]) to 25 breast cancer survivors. This was a single group repeated measures design. The program based on the Transtheoretical Model of Behavior Change and Social Cognitive Theory was offered over 12 weeks;and outcomes were assessed at 12 and 24 weeks. Participants'reported significant increases in physical activity, reductions in fatigue and improvement in quality of life at 12 and 24 weeks compared to baseline. The proposed study, a randomized controlled trial, represents the next step in our efforts to extend the research on physical activity to the community setting;community volunteers will deliver the intervention, thereby making physical activity interventions much more accessible to survivors. In partnership with the National ACS office (Atlanta, GA) and the New England ACS Division, researchers at the Miriam Hospital will share their skills, experience and resources to examine the effects of training RTR volunteers to deliver brief physical activity counseling to breast cancer survivors. Fifteen to twenty RTR volunteers will be trained to offer a 12-week telephone-based PA program as a supplement to 12- week RTR services (RTR Plus) vs. delivering the standard 12-week RTR services (RTR) to 108 breast cancer survivors. Assessments of physical activity, fatigue and other outcomes will be completed at baseline, 12 weeks and 24 weeks. Data on side-effects of the intervention and costs of intervention delivery will be tracked. If the proposed randomized trial demonstrates positive effects, the results will be used to design and support a dissemination trial of the effects of physical activity promotion to enhance cancer recovery in a community setting.

Public Health Relevance

Physical activity programs, when offered in research settings, have been shown to improve quality of life and reduce fatigue among breast cancer survivors. We plan to train Reach to Recovery volunteers at the American Cancer Society (New England Division) to provide a 12-week telephone-based physical activity program (RTR Plus) for breast cancer patients. The comparison group of patients will receive Reach to Recovery services (RTR). Physical activity, fatigue and other outcomes will be examined among 108 breast cancer patients at the start of the program, at 12 weeks and 24 weeks. If the physical activity program is found to be effective, there is a potential for dissemination among the 13,000 Reach to Recovery volunteers across the U.S.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Research Project (R01)
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Community-Level Health Promotion Study Section (CLHP)
Program Officer
Alfano, Catherine M
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Miriam Hospital
United States
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