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Study of female colorectal survivors looks at effects of weight loss

MAYWOOD, Ill. – Loyola University Medical Center is one of a handful of centers nationwide conducting a National Cancer Institute-funded research study that  offers nutrition counseling and free membership to a weight-loss facility to help women who have had colon or rectal cancer reach a healthy body weight in one year.

There are more than 600,000 female colorectal cancer survivors in the U.S. and more than half are estimated to be overweight. Despite clear recommendations to increase physical activity, only about one-third of cancer survivors engage in the recommended 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity at least five days per week.

An estimated 57 percent of women diagnosed with colorectal cancer survive at least 10 years after diagnosis. Recent data suggest that women with a body mass index of less than 25 have a higher 10-year survival rate, as do those with higher levels of physical activity and diets high in fruits and vegetables and low in saturated fat. But these are preliminary findings; no completed clinical trials have yet tested the effects of weight loss via physical activity and dietary change on survival among overweight or obese colorectal cancer survivors.

Women who volunteer for the study will receive nutritional counseling over the phone for 12 months to trim their calorie intake and access to a local facility to participate in a fitness program at least three times per week. The fitness program features bidirectional, pneumatic resistance training exercise combined with low-impact aerobic exercise for 30 minutes. This combination may be more manageable for women who would hesitate to try more traditional types of cardiovascular exercise.

Results from the Women’s Healthy Eating and Living Randomized Trial suggested that the protective effect of a diet high in vegetables, fruit and fiber and low in fat may be limited to women who also engage in higher levels of physical activity. And moderate-intensity physical activity has been shown to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer recurrence and lower mortality rates.

To date the majority of lifestyle modification studies among cancer survivors have tested either a dietary intervention or a physical activity intervention. An editorial in the 2007 Journal of Clinical Oncology discusses the promise of combining physical activity and dietary interventions to improve cancer outcomes. The new study, known as S1008, is the first long-term intervention study of post-treatment cancer survivors to take this combined approach.

The S1008 study is being conducted by the SWOG cancer research cooperative group, part of the National Cancer Institute’s National Clinical Trials Network. Loyola is a key member of the SWOG consortium.  To learn more about the study, contact Kathy Czaplicki RN, MSN, CCRC, at kczapli@LUMC.edu or (708) 327-3222.

SWOG is a cancer research cooperative group that designs and conducts multidisciplinary clinical trials to improve the practice of medicine in preventing, detecting and treating cancer and to enhance the quality of life for cancer survivors.

Loyola University Health System (LUHS) is a member of Trinity Health. Based in the western suburbs of Chicago, LUHS is a quaternary care system with a 61-acre main medical center campus, the 36-acre Gottlieb Memorial Hospital campus and more than 30 primary and specialty care facilities in Cook, Will and DuPage counties. The medical center campus is conveniently located in Maywood, 13 miles west of the Chicago Loop and 8 miles east of Oak Brook, Ill. The heart of the medical center campus is a 559-licensed-bed hospital that houses a Level 1 Trauma Center, a Burn Center and the Ronald McDonald® Children's Hospital of Loyola University Medical Center. Also on campus are the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, Loyola Outpatient Center, Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine and Loyola Oral Health Center as well as the LUC Stritch School of Medicine, the LUC Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. Loyola's Gottlieb campus in Melrose Park includes the 255-licensed-bed community hospital, the Professional Office Building housing 150 private practice clinics, the Adult Day Care, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park.

Media Relations

Jim Ritter
Media Relations
(708) 216-2445
jritter@lumc.edu
Anne Dillon
Media Relations
(708) 216-8232
adillon@lumc.edu