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Coaching by Phone Benefits Colorectal Cancer Survivors
Phone intervention linked to improvements in some, but not all, health and behavioral outcomes

THURSDAY, June 6 (HealthDay News) -- A telephone-delivered intervention, known as CanChange, positively influences certain health and behavioral outcomes among colorectal cancer survivors, according to research published online May 20 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Anna L. Hawkes, Ph.D., M.P.H., of the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia, and colleagues randomly assigned 410 colorectal cancer survivors to either a health coaching intervention or usual care. The health coaching intervention consisted of 11 telephone coaching sessions over six months, addressing physical activity, weight management, dietary habits, alcohol consumption, and smoking. Primary outcomes (physical activity levels, health-related quality of life, and cancer-related fatigue) and secondary outcomes (body mass index, alcohol intake and diet, and smoking) were assessed at six and 12 months.

For colorectal cancer survivors receiving telephone coaching compared with those receiving usual care, the researchers observed significant intervention effects at 12 months for moderate physical activity (28.5 minutes), body mass index (−0.9 kg/m²), and energy from of total fat (−7.0 percent) and saturated fat (−2.8 percent). No significant differences in mean changes between the two groups were found at six or 12 months for health-related quality of life; cancer-related fatigue; intake of fruit, fiber, or alcohol; or smoking.

"In conclusion, telephone-delivered multiple health behavior change interventions, such as CanChange, are feasible and can improve some important health outcomes for colorectal cancer survivors compared with usual care," the authors write. "Importantly, telephone-delivered interventions are convenient, flexible, wide reaching, and potentially low cost."

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April 18, 2014

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