Introduction/Background*Cancer and its treatments can result in physical, psychological, and cognitive impairments. The Healthy Eating Active Lifestyle (HEAL) – GYN “rehabilitation” cancer program was developed to provide intensive group lifestyle training on exercise, nutrition, sleep, social integration, and stress management via a telemedicine platform. The aim of this study was to determine the impact of such an intervention on short-term quality of life for gynecologic cancer patients.
Methodology Gynecologic cancer patients underwent experiential instruction and personalized goal setting through an entirely virtual platform. A multidisciplinary team led by a gynecologic oncologist addressed diet, physical activity, strategies for sleep and stress management, sexual health, smoking cessation and alcohol intake. The intervention was aimed to address unmet psychosocial, emotional, physical, sexual, and spiritual needs common to cancer survivors. Self-administered questionnaires with Likert scales (1-5) were utilized in a pre-and post-fashion to assess improvements in physical activity, dietary and sleep habits, and a general medical symptom questionnaire (MSQ).
Result(s)*We report outcomes on the first 22 participants. The mean age was 58.8 years; 22 were Caucasian, and 7 patients were on maintenance therapy during their enrollment. There was a significant decrease in the average number of general symptoms reported by a comprehensive medical symptom questionnaire (MSQ) (36.39 vs 24.77, p<0.05). Trends towards improvement were demonstrated in eating patterns (4.59 vs 3.74 p=0.06), perceived stress (11.32 vs 10.73, p=0.28), levels of anxiety and depression (10.76 vs 7.68, p=0.07) and weight management (17.55 vs 16.79, p=0.23). Patients also reported feeling an increased sense of purpose and connection as a result of their enrollment in the program (35.57 vs 37.26, p=0.07). Effect sizes (d) within the program were mild to moderate for all evaluated dimensions. 100% of participants would “highly recommend“ the program and none complained of stress or altered mood associated with online instruction.
Conclusion*A telemedicine-based peri-habilitation program is feasible and well tolerated. Based on preliminary data, there are trends towards improvement in overall general medical symptoms, eating patterns, perceived stress, levels of anxiety and depression, and physical activity. These findings support continued investigation of a telemedicine-based healthy lifestyle peri-habilitative program.
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