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Celebrating the impact of patients on cancer research

May 23, 2017

The patients who participated in the NExT study offered a wealth of information on what worked and what didn’t work, which informs us on how to proceed with Phase II.  For example, part of the study focused on testing new ways to individualize exercise for each patient, according to the ups and downs of chemotherapy treatment.  The participants provided feedback at each study visit on whether they met the exercise target for that visit and if not, why not.  We have used these results to further refine our approach and, when we present this research, we receive a lot of interest from other researchers on how they can adopt this same approach in their work.

Personally, the women in the study were so generous with their time and engagement during a very challenging time in their lives.  The study staff included not only experienced exercise trainers but also had the assistance of numerous undergraduate students and volunteers.  The women in this trial taught all of us as much or more than the exercise and healthy eating information we provided to them. All the staff and students involved have taken a lot a way from this experience. 

Late last month, we organized a get-together with our participants. It was a real celebration and it was almost hard to recognize people as there was so much hair.  It was important to share the study findings with the participants to ensure they understood what they had contributed to (all that sweat, some tears and no blood, short of a few blisters).  We were able to share how the results had turned out at a group level and how the research fit into the larger picture of research in the field to change clinical practice.  As the staff, we got to hear how being part of the study had impacted their lives after the study, including being part of the Abreast in Aboat Dragon Boat team and other exercise activities.  It was wonderful experience overall.

Next week I’ll discuss what lies in store for the next phase of NExT and how it will impact cancer care for patients here in British Columbia.

Thanks for reading,