Lifestyle interventions are feasible in patients with colorectal cancer with potential short-term health benefits: a systematic review

Susan J. Moug (Lead / Corresponding author), Adam Bryce, Nanette Mutrie, Annie S. Anderson

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    31 Citations (Scopus)
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    Purpose: Lifestyle interventions have been proposed to improve cancer survivorship in patients with colorectal cancer (CRC), but with treatment pathways becoming increasingly multi-modal and prolonged, opportunities for interventions may be limited. This systematic review assessed the evidence for the feasibility of performing lifestyle interventions in CRC patients and evaluated any short- and long-term health benefits.

    Methods: Using PRISMA Guidelines, selected keywords identified randomised controlled studies (RCTs) of lifestyle interventions [smoking, alcohol, physical activity (PA), diet/ excess body weight] in CRC patients. These electronic databases were searched in June 2015: Dynamed, Cochrane Database, OVID MEDLINE, OVID EMBASE, PEDro.

    Results: 14 RCTs were identified: PA RCTs (n=10) consisted mainly of telephone-prompted walking or cycling interventions of varied durations, predominately in adjuvant setting; dietary/ excess weight interventions RCTs (n=4) focused on low fat and/or high fibre diets within a multi-modal lifestyle intervention. There were no reported RCTs in smoking or alcohol cessation/ reduction. PA and/or dietary/ excess weight interventions reported variable recruitment rates, but good adherence and retention/ follow-up rates, leading to short-term improvements in dietary quality, physical, psychological and quality of life parameters. Only one study assessed long-term follow up, finding significantly improved cancer-specific survival after dietary intervention.

    Conclusions: This is the first systematic review on lifestyle interventions in patients with CRC finding these interventions to be feasible with improvements in short-term health. Future work should focus on defining the optimal type of intervention (type, duration, timing, intensity) that not only leads to improved short-term outcomes, but also assesses long-term survival.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)765-775
    Number of pages11
    JournalInternational Journal of Colorectal Disease
    Issue number6
    Early online date3 Apr 2017
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017


    • Lifestyle interventions
    • Colorectal cancer
    • Patient outcomes


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