Lifestyle interventions are feasible in patients with colorectal cancer with potential short-term health benefits: A systematic review

S.J. Moug, A. Bryce, N. Mutrie, A.S. Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Purpose: Lifestyle interventions have been proposed to improve cancer survivorship in patients with colorectal cancer (CRC), but with treatment pathways becoming increasingly multi-modal and prolonged, opportunities for interventions may be limited. This systematic review assessed the evidence for the feasibility of performing lifestyle interventions in CRC patients and evaluated any short- and long-term health benefits.

Methods: Using PRISMA Guidelines, selected keywords identified randomised controlled studies (RCTs) of lifestyle interventions [smoking, alcohol, physical activity (PA) and diet/excess body weight] in CRC patients. These electronic databases were searched in June 2015: Dynamed, Cochrane Database, OVID MEDLINE, OVID EMBASE, and PEDro.

Results: Fourteen RCTs were identified: PA RCTs (n = 10) consisted mainly of telephone-prompted walking or cycling interventions of varied durations, predominately in adjuvant setting; dietary/excess weight interventions RCTs (n = 4) focused on low-fat and/or high-fibre diets within a multi-modal lifestyle intervention. There were no reported RCTs in smoking or alcohol cessation/reduction. PA and/or dietary/excess weight interventions reported variable recruitment rates, but good adherence and retention/follow-up rates, leading to short-term improvements in dietary quality, physical, psychological and quality-of-life parameters. Only one study assessed long-term follow-up, finding significantly improved cancer-specific survival after dietary intervention.

Conclusions: This is the first systematic review on lifestyle interventions in patients with CRC finding these interventions to be feasible with improvements in short-term health. Future work should focus on defining the optimal type of intervention (type, duration, timing and intensity) that not only leads to improved short-term outcomes but also assesses long-term survival.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)765–775
Number of pages11
JournalInternational journal of colorectal disease
Issue number6
Early online date3 Apr 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2017


  • colorectal cancer
  • lifestyle interventions
  • patient outcomes


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