UNC scientists publish results from breast cancer survivors wellness workshops

Scientists from UNC Lineberger have published a report describing an outreach program they developed for breast cancer survivors in four NC counties.

Their study, titled “Do Breast Cancer Survivors Increase Their Physical Activity and Enhance Their Health-Related Quality of Life After Attending Community-Based Wellness Workshops?” was published in the December 31 online issue of the Journal of Cancer EducationIcon indicating that a link will open an external site..

The study was conducted as an outreach activity for the Get REAL & HEEL ProgramIcon indicating that a link will open an external site..

The UNC team included two faculty members from the UNC Department of Exercise and Sport Science:  Claudio Battaglini, PhD, associate professor, and Diane Groff, EdD, associate professor. Participating from the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health’s department of nutrition is postdoctoral fellow Denise Spector.

The scientists hosted either a one-time program or a series aimed at high-need areas for health education for breast cancer survivors in four NC counties.  The counties were selected because of high incidence or mortality rates, high rates of under- or uninsured women, and/or high rates of minority women with breast cancer compared to other counties. The UNC team worked collaboratively with community partners to develop and publicize the sessions, that included information and interactive sessions on physical activity and emotional /stress management.

The scientists report that 81 breast cancer survivors and 18 co-survivors (ex. spouse, daughter, friend) attended at least one of the workshops. All breast cancer survivors completed a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Health-Related Quality of Life questionnaire at baseline and again from two to four weeks following the emotional and stress management portion of the series.

The UNC team reported an increase in physical activity and improvements in several health-related quality of life domains one month following the exercise workshops. The authors note that although their results are not statistically significant, their findings are encouraging and support the development of community-based workshops for underserved populations.

Support for the programs was provided by UNC Lineberger, the Department of Exercise and Sport Science and the Petro Kuylnich Foundation and the NC Triangle Affiliate of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure.