Background: Weight gain and inactivity have been associated with worse cancer outcomes, functional impairment and cardiovascular morbidity among cancer survivors. The optimal model for improving nutrition and activity levels of cancer survivors has not been established and many interventions focus on either nutrition or exercise but not both. Research suggests superior outcomes when incorporating self-management models into health care delivery.
Aims: To evaluate the feasibility, acceptability and impact of a combined nutrition and physical activity intervention in cancer survivors within a self-management framework.
Methodology: A single centre prospective study will recruit 60 participants aged ≥ 18 years, treated for solid tumours with curative intent. The study involves 2 patient cohorts: 1) those currently receiving chemotherapy, and 2) patients following completion of active treatment. The Flinders Living Well Self-Management Program will be utilised to establish patient led nutrition and physical activity SMART goals (specific, measureable, achievable, realistic and timely). Subsequently, healthcare professionals will work with participants to develop a tailored nutrition and physical activity intervention of their choice, supported by access to one-on-one dietary counselling, nutrition group education, supermarket tours, home exercise programs and supervised exercise classes over the 12 week period. Reviews of progress will occur fortnightly, with assessments at baseline, 6 and 12 weeks. The primary outcome for the pilot trial is feasibility. Feasibility measures include recruitment rate, completion rate, optimal intervention points, preferred intervention choices and adherence to interventions, measured by subjective physical activity diaries and dietary recalls.
Discussion: The NAPA trial is the first of its kind to deliver a combined nutrition and physical activity intervention within a self-management model to patients treated with curative intent. The assessment of feasibility will inform future randomised control trials on an optimal nutrition and physical activity intervention and its timing in cancer survivors.