Daughters, Dudes, Mothers and Others Fighting Cancer Together

Wendy Demark-Wahnefried, PhD, RD; Dorothy Pekmezi, PhD; Robert Oster, PhD; Teri Hoenemeyer, PhD; Laura Rogers, MD; University of Alabama at Birmingham

Studies have found that early stage cancer survivors who are overweight have a higher risk of having their cancer come back. This study is enrolling survivors of early stage colorectal, kidney, prostate, ovarian, uterine, multiple myeloma, or female breast cancer who want to lose weight, and a friend or relative (buddy) who also wants to lose weight who both live in Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina, or Tennessee. The researchers will explore whether a web-based weight loss and exercise program results in weight loss and improves the overall health and well-being of early stage cancer survivors and the people around them.

What does participation involve?

This is a 6-month study that can be completed almost entirely from your own home. If you meet all of the eligibility categories below and want to participate in this study, you will be contacted by a member of the research team to discuss the study and answer a series of questions to ensure your eligibility. You will then find a partner (a family member, spouse, or friend) who might be interested in participating, who also needs to lose weight, and he or she will answer some questions to ensure their eligibility. Then, you and your partner will be randomly assigned (like the flip of a coin) to one of two groups, the exercise and weight loss program or a group that receives the program after a 6-month delay.

If you and your partner are assigned to the exercise and weight loss group, you will start a program that will be delivered online and via text messages. The program will teach you how to live a healthier life by eating better and exercising more, with an emphasis on losing weight. You will also receive a free Fitbit, a Wi-Fi scale, a portion plate, and a resistance band to encourage your success. Before you start the program, after 3 months, and at the 6-month mark, you will complete a two-part internet-based survey. Each part will take about 30 to 45 minutes to complete.

In addition, at the start of the program and at the end of the program, the research team will ask you and your buddy to complete two online physical assessments and attend either two community health center visits or two health assessments done in your home (for a total of 4 assessments). Each visit will last about 1 hour. Prior to these visits, you will wear an activity monitor (provided by the research team) for a week. During these visits, a member of the research team will take your blood pressure, weight, height, and waist size. They will also ask you to complete a few physical function tests and will draw 2 tablespoons of your blood.

If you are assigned to the delayed intervention group, you and your partner will receive the program described above after a 6-month delay.

Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Tennessee