Background: We will carry out a small-scale nonrandomized trial to determine whether participation in a dragon boat paddling team enhances quality of life in cancer survivors above and beyond an organized walking program. Building upon previous research which documents the salubrious impact of exercise in cancer survivors, evaluating the impact of dragon boating on factors that contribute to overall quality of life among cancer survivors has the potential to advance our understanding of survivorship outcomes. We hypothesize that physical activity conducted within the context of social support of a dragon boat team contributes synergistically to improved overall quality of life, as the collective experience of dragon boating is likely enhanced by team sport factors such as cohesion, teamwork and the goal of competition and by paddling on the water creating greater feelings of inner peace and harmony.
Aims : To determine the impact of participation on a dragon boat racing team on well-being 1) psychologically; 2) physically; and 3) enhanced overall quality of life. Methods: Cancer survivors will choose to participate in an 8-week dragon boat paddling (experimental n=66) or walking (control n=66) program. The intervention and control arms will each be comprised of a series of 3 groups of 22 participants, with data collected before and after the interventions to compare quality of life and physical functioning outcomes pre-post within and between study arms. To control for potential confounding, data will be collected on predisposing baseline demographic and lifestyle characteristics and involvement in supplementary exercise or support group activities, and important differences will be adjusted for in the analyses. Summary: Our study tests a novel, holistic approach to survivorship that could have broad implications for understanding how best to improve the post-diagnosis experience and will provide strong pilot data in support of a subsequent large-scale R01 submission. There are approximately 10 million cancer survivors in the U.S., but much remains to be learned about optimizing quality of life among survivors. This project will test a novel, team-oriented exercise program (dragon boating) that will help us learn more about how physical, mental, social and spiritual factors impact the quality of life of cancer survivors. ? ? ?

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Small Research Grants (R03)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZCA1-SRRB-D (J1))
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Jeffery, Diana D
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Medical University of South Carolina
Schools of Medicine
United States
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Carter, Cindy L; Onicescu, Georgiana; Cartmell, Kathleen B et al. (2012) The comparative effectiveness of a team-based versus group-based physical activity intervention for cancer survivors. Support Care Cancer 20:1699-707
Carter, Cindy L; Onicescu, Georgiana; Cartmell, Kathleen B et al. (2010) Factors associated with cancer survivors' selection between two group physical activity programs. J Cancer Surviv 4:388-98