Tailored lifestyle feedback during colorectal cancer screening improved health behaviors

December 3, 2018, American Association for Cancer Research

A program that provided individually tailored lifestyle recommendations for patients undergoing screening for colorectal cancer helped encourage healthy behavior, according to results published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

"It is well known that a decreases the risk of ," said the study's lead author, Markus Dines Knudsen, Ph.D., Department of Bowel Screening at the Cancer Registry of Norway in Oslo and the Department of Research and Development at Telemark Hospital in Skein, Norway.

"We also know that the context of provides a teachable moment to increase participants' awareness of health behaviors," he added. "We wanted to examine whether tailored feedback, delivered within a screening program, could effectively promote that could reduce cancer risk."

In this study, the researchers invited 3,642 men and women aged 50-74, from two different areas in southeastern Norway, to receive a sigmoidoscopy, a minimally invasive procedure used to screen for colorectal cancer. Ultimately, 1,054 enrolled in the study. Participants were asked to complete two questionnaires, one before screening and one a year after screening. The lifestyle questionnaires included questions on smoking status, weight, physical activity, alcohol consumption, and intake of fruits, vegetables, and red or processed meat.

The participants were randomly assigned to receive either standardized, individually tailored, written feedback on their health habits; a standard leaflet about healthy behaviors; or nothing, as part of the control group. The group assigned to receive the standard leaflet received a one-page leaflet titled "Good habits for a healthier life."

The group assigned to receive tailored feedback received a two- to three-page letter from the research team which reflected the participants' answers to the lifestyle questionnaire before screening and urged them to improve cancer-preventive behaviors. For instance, a person who said they ate less than the daily recommended amount of fruits and vegetables would be reminded to eat at least five servings per day, and the letters provided examples and serving sizes.

One year after the participants completed the screening and questionnaire, they answered the second questionnaire on cancer preventive lifestyle behaviors. Overall, the researchers found that over the course of that year, those who received the individually tailored feedback increased their number of cancer preventive behaviors by 0.11 compared with the control group.

Some changes were larger among participants who had not previously adhered to healthy lifestyles. Among this population, those who received the individually tailored recommendations had a significantly larger weight loss of -0.84 kg compared to the .

Knudsen noted that while many changes were small and varied from group to group, the study indicates that individually tailored advice given in the context of colorectal screening may be helpful in encouraging behavior that could potentially lower cancer risk.

"The benefit of teaching cancer preventive in the setting of population-based screening is that it could increase chances of reaching a major portion of the relevant age group or demographic," Knudsen said. "At the time of screening, these people may be more responsive to information about cancer prevention."

Knudsen noted that the researchers did not have information on the participants' awareness of lifestyle behaviors prior to the study. He added that people willing to complete questionnaires and join a study may be more motivated than the general public to improve their health.

Explore further: Disparities remain in prevalence of cancer screening tests

Related Stories

Disparities remain in prevalence of cancer screening tests

August 7, 2018
(HealthDay)—There are persistent disparities in recommended cancer screening tests among U.S. adults, particularly among the uninsured, according to a study published online July 26 in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control ...

Survey finds colorectal cancer reported more commonly in individuals with unhealthy lifestyle

May 7, 2017
A Cleveland Clinic colon cancer risk assessment survey found that respondents who exercised more, followed a healthy diet and did not smoke were less likely to have a personal history of colorectal cancer or colon polyps. ...

Colorectal cancer: Screening should include environment, genetic factors

March 12, 2018
When it comes to colorectal cancer, many people would benefit from individually tailored screening rather than standardized population guidelines.

Internet users more likely to engage in cancer-preventive behaviors

October 22, 2013
Older men and women who used the internet were more likely to participate in screening for colorectal cancer, participate in physical activities, eat healthily, and smoke less, compared with those who did not use the internet, ...

Flexible sigmoidoscopy screening reduces colorectal cancer incidence, rate of death

August 12, 2014
Among about 100,000 study participants, screening with flexible sigmoidoscopy resulted in a reduced incidence and rate of death of colorectal cancer, compared to no screening, according to a study in the August 13 issue of ...

Sigmoidoscopy reduces colon cancer risk for men, but not women

April 23, 2018
Offering sigmoidoscopy screening to men and women in Norway reduced colorectal cancer (CRC) incidence and mortality in men, but had little or no effect in women. These findings suggest that current guidelines recommending ...

Recommended for you

Potential seen for tailoring treatment for acute myeloid leukemia

December 8, 2018
Advances in rapid screening of leukemia cells for drug susceptibility and resistance are bringing scientists closer to patient-tailored treatment for acute myeloid leukemia (AML).

Study may offer doctors a more effective way to treat neuroblastoma

December 7, 2018
A very large team of researchers, mostly from multiple institutions across Germany, has found what might be a better way to treat patients with neuroblastoma, a type of cancer. In their paper published in the journal Science, ...

Inflammatory bowel disease linked to prostate cancer

December 7, 2018
Men with inflammatory bowel disease have four to five times higher risk of being diagnosed with prostate cancer, reports a 20-year study from Northwestern Medicine.

'Chemo brain' caused by malfunction in three types of brain cells, study finds

December 6, 2018
More than half of cancer survivors suffer from cognitive impairment from chemotherapy that lingers for months or years after the cancer is gone. In a new study explaining the cellular mechanisms behind this condition, scientists ...

Scientists develop new technology for profiling unique genetic makeup of myeloma tumor cells

December 6, 2018
Cancer arises when cells lose control. Deciphering the "blueprint" of cancer cells—outlining how cancer cells hijack specific pathways for uncontrolled proliferation—will lead to more efficient ways to fight it. Joint ...

Putting the brakes on tumor stealth

December 6, 2018
New research undertaken at Monash University has shed new light on how some cancers are able to escape our immune system.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.