Lifestyle modification is an increasingly important component of cancer survivorship to ameliorate the effects of treatment, minimise co-morbidities and promote long-term wellness. Although curative for many people with blood cancer, stem cell transplant (SCT) survivors often carry a burden of associated morbidity. Within an established Late Effects Clinic, a high prevalence of obesity (60%), hypertension (51%), elevated triglycerides (55%) and smoking (14%) has been identified. Survivors are also at risk of osteoporosis with 59% having low bone mineral density and increased fracture risk. Lifestyle modification focusing on nutrition and physical activity has the potential to impact substantially on these cardiovascular and bone health risk factors.
To provide a range of community-based physical activities, support and education opportunities to enable survivors, at any fitness level, to develop lifelong healthy eating and physical activity patterns to benefit health, wellbeing and quality of life.
Autologous or allogeneic SCT survivors (≥2 years in ongoing remission) attending the Late Effects Clinic are offered the opportunity to participate in the ‘Positive Change for Life’ project. Each participant enters a 12 month program integrating the key components of dietary advice, tailored individual and group physical activity, motivational strategies and GP support.
Recruitment commenced July 2012. Baseline data collection is ongoing and changes over time for dimensions of interest relating to anthropometric measurements, laboratory parameters and questionnaire items examining quality of life, barriers to physical activity, leisure time exercise habits, dietary intake and fatigue will be assessed.
The completion of cancer treatment can represent an opportunity to make changes to improve health & wellbeing. A critical need for SCT survivors to address lifestyle has been identified. Regular exercise, good nutrition & maintaining a healthy weight are all strategies that may improve health, wellbeing and quality of life for long-term survivors of curative SCT.