Dr. Shevde-Samant’s goal is to learn more about how obesity and high blood sugar levels can affect breast cancer and potentially find new ways to treat it. This is especially relevant for Alabama, a state where over 15% of adults have diabetes, and of these 80% are overweight-to-obese.
Web-Based Curriculum Helps Cancer Survivors Manage Weight and Exercise More
Since receiving funding from the Breast Cancer Research Foundation of Alabama (BCRFA) in 2021, Dr. Laura Q. Rogers’ has been hard at work finding ways to improve the health and extend the lives of cancer survivors.
Her current BCRFA-funded project is testing how at-home exercise can improve the health of breast cancer survivors through the gut microbiome. She is also working on programs to help breast cancer survivors interested in increasing their exercise so the insights from her BCRFA-funded study can reach as many breast cancer survivors as possible. Dr. Rogers recently hosted a seminar to share hopeful updates from this work.
As part of a UAB research team led by Dr. Wendy Demark-Wahnefried, Dr. Rogers co-led the development of a web-based curriculum to help people exercise more and manage their weight after cancer treatment. This program is called “AiM, Plan, and act on LIFestYles (AMPLIFY) Survivor Health” and the team is currently testing program benefits.
This study is crucial because cancer survivors are at higher risk for many health conditions like heart disease, diabetes and obesity, and the number of cancer survivors is skyrocketing. There are over 18 million cancer survivors in the U.S. and 3.8 million of those are survivors of breast cancer.
By promoting healthy eating and exercise, Dr. Rogers and her colleagues hope to improve the quality of life of cancer survivors and reduce their risk of developing other health problems.
Since beginning their research, the AMPLIFY team have:
- Conducted stakeholder interviews to determine what kind of program would be most effective and sustainable.
- Developed multiple interventions to improve health, such as a 6-month weight loss program or a 6-month exercise program or 12-month combination of the two.
- Enrolled over 400 participants with a goal of about 600 by August. Recruitment is open to cancer survivors from all 48 of the contiguous United States.
- Launched a website to guide participants through diet and/or exercise interventions. So far, participant engagement has been high, even higher than that achieved with previously published web-based lifestyle interventions for cancer survivors.
While the researchers are not permitted to share results until the end of enrollment, Dr. Rogers said, “So far, AMPLIFY looks like it will be a very promising tool to help cancer survivors lose weight, exercise more, and experience better physical functioning.”
One participant said, “Before I started AMPLIFY, I was completely washed-out. I could barely walk a hundred feet without having to stop and catch my breath. I have enjoyed the program. I’m feeling better now. I am eating and sleeping better, and have lost weight.”
The AMPLIFY research team’s next steps will be to complete the efficacy testing, improve participants’ engagement, find advocacy, industry, or health system organizations willing to “house” the intervention long term, and determine how to best integrate it within health systems and clinical care.
We look forward to hearing more from the AMPLIFY team soon!
If you are interested in enrolling in AMPLIFY, click here to learn more.