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UT Tyler Faculty Explores Relationship Between Exercise, Spirituality and Cancer

April 20, 2007

Dr. Barbara Haas, associate professor of nursing at The University of Texas at Tyler, is investigating the possible link between cancer and level of fitness and spirituality, Dr. Linda Klotz, dean of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences, announced.

Haas is working with the Cancer Foundation for Life.
“The results of a small pilot study are surprising. The study participants were cancer survivors who were surveyed about their level of spirituality at various times during their cancer diagnosis and treatment,” said Haas.

Although the pilot study results are preliminary, Haas feels they do raise intriguing questions about the possible connection.
“Almost half believed their spirituality was challenged by the initial cancer diagnosis, feeling a decreased level of spirituality. On the other hand, over 95 percent believed their spirituality improved as a result of regular, moderate exercise after the initial cancer diagnosis,” she added.
CFFL provided an exercise program called FitSTEPs for the study participants.    

CFFL is a non-profit organization established by retired oncologist Gary Kimmel, who believed moderate exercise during and after cancer diagnosis and treatment would improve the quality of life for persons living with cancer.
The organization has served more than 1,200 people in Smith and Cherokee Counties. The
FitSTEPS program has expanded to the Dallas metroplex at the request of Baylor Medical Center and Southwestern Medical School.
The UT Tyler College of Nursing, with more than 570 students in the baccalaureate program and 150 students in the master’s program, enjoys a collaborative relationship with CFFL, according to Haas.
UT Tyler faculty members provide research expertise on study design and statistical analysis for this pilot project and other ongoing clinical studies. CFFL provides community-based clinical experiences for UT Tyler nursing students.
For more information, contact Haas, 903.566.7021.
One of the 15 campuses of the UT System, UT Tyler offers excellence in teaching, research, artistic performance and community service. More than 70 undergraduate and graduate degrees are available at UT Tyler, which has an enrollment of nearly 6,000 high-ability students at its campuses in Tyler, Longview and Palestine.


Beverley Golden
The University of Texas at Tyler
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