NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J.—The five hospitals of Meridian Health, a System Partner of The Cancer Institute of New Jersey (CINJ), have joined forces with CINJ in offering a clinical research study that examines physical activity patterns and eating habits in colorectal cancer patients who have recently finished treatment. The goal of the study is to build the groundwork for future research on health promotion among individuals with colorectal and other cancers. CINJ is a Center of Excellence of UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.
Not counting skin cancer, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in both men and women, according to the American Cancer Society. The death rate from colorectal cancer has been on the decline for the past 15 years, which means more patients are surviving their disease. But are they surviving it in a way that enhances quality of life and minimizes the risk of cancer recurrence? That is one of the questions researchers at CINJ hope to answer in an effort to promote positive health behavior changes in this population.
Elliot Coups, PhD, behavioral scientist at CINJ and an associate professor of medicine at UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, is the lead investigator. Previous research by Dr. Coups shows that 80 percent of colorectal cancer survivors do not take part in regular physical activity, while 57 percent do not meet recommendations for consuming enough fruits and vegetables in their diet. Because physical inactivity and poor diet may be risk factors for colorectal cancer recurrence, Coups notes further exploration in this area is needed.