In the UK, studies have reported a range of health benefits following interventions to increase physical activity and improve dietary behaviours, also known as lifestyle behaviour changes after primary treatment of early-stage breast cancer.
Identified barriers to positive lifestyle behaviour change include a lack of motivation, fears about cancer recurrence, physical factors such as common physical side effects of breast cancer treatment (fatigue, lymphoedema, weight gain), the ageing process and contextual / environmental factors such as employment and access to exercise facilities.
In contrast, facilitators for positive lifestyle behaviour change include a desire to lose weight, access to supervised exercise and dietary education, feeling a sense of control, peer support and having an opportunity to regain a sense of normality.
Despite these study findings, breast cancer patients consistently report a lack of accurate information and/or support from health professionals, including accurate lifestyle advice for people living with treatment-induced physical limitations. Offering a route to supported, personalised lifestyle behaviour change interventions could address an important unmet need for women and provide treating clinicians with well-defined advice and guidance at this opportune ‘teachable moment’.
What we plan to do
Through qualitative work, a team of researchers from Northumbria University have developed a lifestyle behaviour change intervention for overweight women following primary treatment of early stage breast cancer.
The intervention will now be tested in a multi-centre, randomised controlled superiority trial. An internal pilot phase, for which the current funding period covers, will assess the feasibility and acceptability of the NEWDAY-ABC intervention and assess the recruitment and retention assumptions. Subject to further funding being secured, NEWDAY-ABC will continue on as a full trial testing the clinical benefits and cost-effectiveness of the intervention in bringing about positive behaviour change.
In collaboration with Northumbria University, Hull Health Trials Unit are responsible for trial management and data management systems for the NEWDAY-ABC study.