An increasing number of patients survive cancer diagnosis because of advances in research. However, survival has a price. Once ignored, the long-term impact of treatment is now recognized as a major problem for survivors.
Indeed, in adulthood, survivors of childhood cancer are nearly 4 times more likely to develop cardiovascular disease or die prematurely from a heart condition. They are at higher risk of developing obesity, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and dyslipidemia.
While lifestyle greatly influences these risk factors, most of the patients and their families are not well informed about this issue during their care trajectory. We have demonstrated the feasibility of providing a personalized program of early lifestyle interventions (nutrition, physical and psychosocial) for pediatric patients newly diagnosed with cancer (VIE project). We propose to test the feasibility of implementing this program throughout the Province of Quebec in a research program we named VIE-Qc. We believe that intervening from the moment of diagnosis will be beneficial for patients.
The first objective of our project is to adapt educational materials to better inform patients and families on the importance of adopting a healthy lifestyle. This step will be done in collaboration with our patient partners, who are familiar with the impact of having a child treated for cancer, to validate the relevance and understanding of the content. We also want to create a toolkit for the training of health professionals to facilitate the development of interventions in other centers.
Afterwards, we aim to evaluate the implementation process and the feasibility of such a project in a multicentric format. The impact of the project on patients will be evaluated in turns of patients’ and families’ satisfaction in the program and in the care they received, as well on some health benefits. We will also evaluate the satisfaction of health professionals in relation to their training.
In the long term, this could lead to better the health of childhood cancer survivors and improve patient’s care.