Thanks to research, more and more children are surviving a cancer diagnosis. But survival comes at a price. Once ignored, the long-term impact of treatment is now recognized as a major problem for survivors.
In fact, in adulthood, childhood cancer survivors are almost 4 times more likely to develop cardiovascular disease or die prematurely from heart problems. They are more at risk of developing obesity, hypertension, type 2 diabetes and dyslipidemia. While lifestyle has a major influence on these risk factors, the majority of patients and their families receive very little information on the subject when they enter the care trajectory.
We have demonstrated the feasibility of offering a personalized program of early lifestyle interventions (nutrition, physical activity and psychosocial support) for newly-diagnosed pediatric cancer patients (VIE project). We propose to test the feasibility of implementing this program across Quebec in a program we’ve named VIE-Qc. We believe that early intervention will benefit patients.
The first objective of our project is to adapt educational material to better inform patients and families about the importance of adopting a healthy lifestyle. This stage will be carried out in conjunction with our patient partners, who are familiar with the reality of the impact of cancer treatment on children, in order to validate the relevance and comprehensibility of the content. We also want to create a toolbox for training healthcare professionals to facilitate the development of interventions in other centers.
We then want to evaluate the implementation process and the feasibility of such a project at the provincial level. The project’s impact on patients and families will be assessed in terms of their satisfaction with the program and the care they received, as well as with certain health determinants. We will also assess health professionals’ satisfaction with the training they receive.
In the long term, this could improve the health of pediatric cancer survivors and enhance patient care.