Participants and other stakeholders in the ActWELL trial are invited to hear about the study results in online events. The events were originally intended to be hosted face-to-face, one event in each city where the trial recruited participants (Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow) but due to the ongoing pandemic this is of course no longer possible. However, the ActWELL team does not think that participants, Breast Cancer Now volunteer coaches and other stakeholders should miss out on hearing about the trial findings directly from the trial team, hence, these events have been moved online. This type of online event is the first of its kind in HSRU and other trial teams want to know how it goes and whether trial participants want to attend this kind of online event to learn about trial findings.
The ActWELL trial aimed to help women to make lifestyle changes that are linked to reductions in the risk of getting breast cancer in the future. We know there are many breast cancer cases linked to lifestyle. It is estimated that at the moment, 38 out of a 100 breast cancer cases in women aged 50 years and older are related to lifestyle. This is lifestyle in terms of lack of physical activity, drinking alcohol and high body weight. In addition, the number of breast cancer cases in Scotland is expected to go up in the near future (2023-2027). We suspect that just as lifestyle can increase the risk of breast cancer, it is likely that lifestyle and weight management can also decrease the risk of breast cancer.
Women were asked if they wanted to take part when they attended their routine NHS breast cancer screening appointment in Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow. The programme was free, personalised and designed to support women to make small but important changes to their lifestyle. However, they were not alone, a specially trained Breast Cancer Now volunteer supported each woman individually through the year-long programme with two face-to-face sessions and up to nine phone calls. ActWELL sets an initial target of a 7% reduction in body weight; women had to be overweight or obese to join. Then strategies were introduced for how to keep the new weight, mainly in relation to choice of food and increasing the time spent being physically active. The women were then taught how to make different food choices and introduce more physical activity into their lives, along with strategies to turn these changes into habits to form a new, healthier and lasting lifestyle.
Over the course of a year the participants assigned to the ActWELL lifestyle programme were on a journey to a new lifestyle. This November they will find out whether following the ActWELL lifestyle programme was effective.