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    Awarded Grants
    Feasibility of Physical Activity and Relaxation Training for Cancer Survivors

    Scientific Abstract:
    Feasibility of Physical Activity and Relaxation Training for Cancer Survivors Background: Breast cancer survivors are vulnerable to a number of health problems and psychosocial difficulties. There is mounting evidence, however, that physical activity can reduce the risk for many of these difficulties. Objective/Hypothesis: The proposed pilot study would assess the feasibility of sedentary breast cancer survivors simultaneously adopting a (previously tested) moderate-intensity physical activity (PA) program along with relaxation training (RT); ultimately, the hope is that adding RT to this previously tested PA program would improve mood outcomes. Specific Aims: 1. Determine whether it is feasible for breast cancer survivors to simultaneously adopt PA and RT. 2. Test the effect of the intervention on levels of distress among breast cancer survivors; we hypothesize that survivors will show a decrease in distress at post-intervention and 3 month follow-up compared with baseline. 3. Determine whether adding a relaxation training component to the PA intervention interferes with breast cancer survivors ability to adopt a moderate-intensity PA program; we hypothesize that survivors will complete an average of 80% of the RT sessions prescribed, and demonstrate greater participation in moderate-intensity PA and greater energy expenditure at post-intervention and 3-month follow-up compared with baseline. Study Design: The proposed pilot study would recruit 22 early-stage, sedentary breast cancer survivors for a 12-week PA and RT intervention. The intervention would be delivered to survivors via telephone. Survivors would be assessed on-site at baseline, post-intervention, and 3 months post-intervention. Potential Outcomes and Benefits of the Research: It is anticipated that this pilot study would lead to a future randomized, controlled efficacy trial. If findings from the future trial support the efficacy of the intervention, this intervention would represent an important step toward secondary prevention of physical and psychological problems for this population.

    Lay Abstract:
    Feasibility of Physical Activity and Relaxation Training for Cancer Survivors Background: Breast cancer survivors are at risk for a number of medical conditions and psychological difficulties. Research has shown, however, that physical activity can reduce many of these risks. Objective/Hypothesis: We are proposing a small study to test whether it is feasible for breast cancer survivors who are not physically active to begin a physical activity program and also learn a relaxation strategy. We hope that adding this relaxation training to the (previously tested) physical activity program will enhance breast cancer survivors’ mood. Specific Aims: 1. Determine whether it is feasible for breast cancer survivors to simultaneously increase their level of physical activity and learn relaxation 2. Test the effect of the intervention on levels of distress among breast cancer survivors; we hypothesize that survivors will show a decrease in distress from before to after the intervention and at the 3-month post-intervention follow-up. 3. Determine whether adding a relaxation strategy to the physical activity program interferes with breast cancer survivors increasing their levels of physical activity; we hypothesize that survivors will practice relaxation and also increase their physical activity and energy expenditure from before to after the intervention, and at the 3-month post-intervention follow-up. Study Design: The proposed study would involve 22 early-stage, physically inactive breast cancer survivors. These survivors receive 12 weekly phone calls coaching them on both starting a physical activity program and learning relaxation. Survivors would come to the research site 3 times to collect data: before the intervention begins, within a week of the end of the intervention, and 3 months post-intervention. Potential Outcomes and Benefits of the Research: It is anticipated that this study would lead to a larger study in the future. If findings from the larger study show that the intervention helps survivors increase their level of physical activity and improve their mood, this intervention would represent an important step toward reducing many of the medical and psychological difficulties breast cancer survivors face.