Altering Intake and Managing Symptoms: Feasibility of a Diet Modification Intervention for Post-Treatment Bowel Dysfunction in Rectal Cancer

Virginia Sun

Tracy E. Crane

Sarah Freylersythe

Samantha D. Slack

Angela Yung

Robert S. Krouse

Cynthia A. Thomson

rectal cancer, survivorship, bowel dysfunction, diet, quality of life, goal setting
CJON 2022, 26(3), 283-292. DOI: 10.1188/22.CJON.283-292

Background: Bowel dysfunction is a common long-term effect of rectal cancer treatment that affects a survivor’s quality of life, with few empirically based interventions for symptom management.

Objectives: The objective was to determine the acceptability of diet modification for bowel dysfunction in postsurgical rectal cancer survivors.

Methods: 11 rectal cancer survivors who were at least six months post-treatment and reported moderate to severe bowel symptoms completed 10 telephone coaching sessions focusing on diet and symptom management over four months. Feasibility was assessed by study enrollment rate and intervention completion rate.

Findings: Diet modification coaching for bowel symptom management is feasible for post-treatment rectal cancer survivors. The intervention can be evaluated for efficacy because of potential to serve as a scalable and accessible approach for effective bowel symptom management.

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