Evaluation of a lifestyle intervention program in primary care on physical and mental health and quality of life of cancer survivors: A pilot study

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Introduction: Cancer survivors often suffer from fatigue and (mental) health impairments. Despite evidence for effectiveness, lifestyle interventions are seldom applied in their aftercare. The aim of this study was to assess
feasibility of a lifestyle intervention program on physical and mental wellbeing and quality of life (QoL) of cancer survivors, and to get a first impression of effectiveness, by means of a pilot study.
Methods: Nine subjects were enrolled in a 12-month lifestyle intervention pilot study without a control group, conducted in a Dutch primary care centre. The intervention consisted of individual and group lifestyle training
focusing on diet, exercise and mind-body interaction. The main outcomes were physical and mental health and QoL.

Results: All 9 subjects completed the 12-month lifestyle intervention program. We found a large positive effect on fatigue (r = −0.9), stress (r = −0.8) and anxiety (r = −0.9). With respect to quality of life, large improvements in vitality (r = 0.7), role limitations due to physical health (r = −0.7), role limitations due to emotional problems (r = −0.8) and personal health experience (r = 0.8) were found. Subjects’ arm strength increased (r = 0.9), but there were no significant changes in other physical parameters, depressive symptoms, social optimism and autonomy. Contradictory results were found for pain.

Conclusion: Implementation of this lifestyle intervention program seems feasible in this small uncontrolled pilot study. The reduced QoL that is typical for cancer survivors was positively influenced by this program. Most prominent results were retrieved for fatigue and mental functioning, whereas little effects were found for
physical health.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-5
Number of pages5
JournalEuropean Journal of Integrative Medicine
Publication statusPublished - Oct-2018


  • Integrative medicine
  • Lifestyle medicine
  • Cancer survivor

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