“We are delighted that our project is supported by World Cancer Research Fund and Cancer Australia. With their support this project will allow us to work with colorectal cancer survivors who are at risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer charities, healthcare professionals, and researchers to co-design an intervention to help survivors improve their physical activity, diet and sleep. This is the first phase in the development and evaluation of this intervention.” – Prof Mitch Duncan
MULTI-HEALTH: Co-creating a technology-based multiple behaviour intervention for cancer survivors at increased risk of CVD
Advances in screening and treatment mean people diagnosed with colorectal cancer (CRC) have a high chance of surviving at least 5 years after they are diagnosed. However, CRC survivors are at increased risk of hypertension, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, and subsequently cardiovascular disease (CVD). This influences their quality of life and healthcare costs, and contributes to premature death.
Being physically active, having a good quality diet, good quality sleep and maintaining a healthy weight are important for all cancer survivors. However, many people with CRC are not physically active, do not have a good quality diet and report poor sleep quality, which increases the risk of hypertension, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes and CVD. No interventions exist that are specifically designed to help people with CRC who are at high risk of CVD to improve their physical activity, diet and sleep.
Aims and objectives
Working collaboratively with CRC survivors who are at high risk of CVD, healthcare professionals, researchers and cancer charities (who may eventually promote and host the digital intervention), we will design an intervention to improve the physical activity, diet, and sleep quality of CRC survivors at high risk of CVD. It will be available on a website and app, and will allow information to be printed.
How it will be done
We will use a series of six 3-hour workshops to design, create and adapt a digital intervention in collaboration with consumers (ie Stage I–III CRC at increased risk of CVD with poor activity, diet and sleep), health professionals (ie exercise physiologist, dietitian, sleep physician, psychologist, oncology, GP, cardiologist), researchers, and cancer charities. Workshops allow co-creators to share their knowledge and expertise to create, test and refine the intervention so that it meets expectations and is evidence-based.
The intervention will provide tailored advice based on people’s individual or special needs based on their condition. Co-creators will complete activities such as identifying barriers to healthy behaviours and using prototypes of the intervention to help develop and refine the intervention.
This project will design a high-quality, easy-to-use digital intervention to improve the physical activity, diet, and sleep behaviours of CRC survivors at increased risk of CVD.
We will then seek further funding to test and refine the intervention before we conduct a larger trial to examine how well the intervention works to support survivors to change their health behaviours and reduce their future health risks. If the intervention works as intended it has the potential to provide help to the broad population, irrespective of their geographic location or the time of day they wish to access it.