Harlingen study seeks to motivate breast cancer survivors to get fit

HARLINGEN (March 9, 2012) — Do encouraging, personalized messages, received on a regular basis, inspire women to exercise after they’ve been treated for breast cancer? The School of Medicine at the UT Health Science Center San Antonio is enrolling Hispanic survivors of breast cancer for a 16-week clinical research exercise study conducted in Harlingen to address this topic.

Changed thinking that leads to self-confidence leads to changed behavior. That’s the idea behind the study conducted by the Institute for Health Promotion Research (IHPR), part of the School of Medicine. Several Hispanic women have joined the study since it began early this year. The study requires two visits to the UT Health Science Center San Antonio — Regional Academic Health Center campus in Harlingen to answer questionnaires, do a complete physical fitness assessment and develop each woman’s individualized comprehensive exercise program. Also, based on the answers, each woman receives a personalized newsletter geared just for her.

“The goal is to motivate the Hispanic women to increase their physical activity, as studies have shown this improves quality of life and reduces the risk of developing other cancers and diseases,” said Gabriela Villanueva, research area specialist associate with the IHPR. “It’s a really good program for our women.”

Hispanic women 18 and older who completed their cancer treatment at least two months prior are invited to inquire about eligibility.

Women in the study will be compensated up to $75 in gift cards for participating.

Perhaps the best part is they get a prescription of exercise that they can carry on long after the study has ended.

For more information, contact Villanueva at (956) 365-8699 or villanuevag@uthscsa.edu.

The IHPR’s Daniel Hughes, Ph.D., assistant professor of epidemiology and biostatistics in the School of Medicine, is principal investigator of the study, which is funded by the National Cancer Institute.

The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, one of the country’s leading health sciences universities, ranks in the top 3 percent of all institutions worldwide receiving federal funding. Research and other sponsored program activity totaled $231 million in fiscal year 2011. The university’s schools of medicine, nursing, dentistry, health professions and graduate biomedical sciences have produced approximately 26,000 graduates. The $744 million operating budget supports eight campuses in San Antonio, Laredo, Harlingen and Edinburg. For more information on the many ways “We make lives better®,” visit www.uthscsa.edu.

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