EnCore Studie

For English visitors

The EnCoRe study was initiated by researchers and clinicians at Maastricht University Medical Center+ in 2012 to investigate the consequences of colorectal cancer (cancer of the large bowel). EnCoRe stands for ‘Energy for life after ColoRectal cancer’.

Why was the EnCoRe study initiated?

Colorectal cancer is one of the most common cancers worldwide. In the Netherlands, over 13 000 new cases are diagnosed each year. The number of people being diagnosed with colorectal cancer is increasing due to population ageing. Fortunately, improved treatment options are leading to a more quick recovery and improved survival after treatment. In the Netherlands in 2012, over 80 000 people were living with a past diagnosis of colorectal cancer in the previous 20 years. From the moment of diagnosis of colorectal cancer, these individuals are referred to as ‘colorectal cancer survivors’. 

Many colorectal cancer survivors experience long-lasting complaints due to the cancer and its treatment. These complaints, such as chronic fatigue, depression, and diarrhoea, can adversely affect their daily functioning and overall well-being and quality of life. The personal lifestyle of individuals with persisting complaints after a colorectal cancer diagnosis could play an important role in determining their quality of life. However, unfortunately, there is still not much known about how the health and quality of life of colorectal cancer survivors in the post-treatment phase is influenced by aspects of their lifestyle.

What is the objective of the EnCoRe study?

Within the EnCoRe study, the lifestyle and quality of life of colorectal cancer survivors are being studied. The main aim of the study is to determine how important lifestyle factors, such as diet and physical activity, affect the quality of life and overall well-being of colorectal cancer survivors in the period after the end of initial treatment. At the same time, the influence of potential changes in lifestyle behaviour, for example adaptation of dietary habits or changes in exercise behaviour after treatment, on quality of life is investigated. In addition, it is evaluated which lifestyle and other personal and medical factors can be predictive for a future change in quality of life.

Who can participate in the EnCoRe study?

The recruitment of participants for the EnCoRe study started in April 2012 and is currently ongoing. Currently, individuals who are diagnosed with colorectal cancer at the Maastricht University Medical Center+ or two other regional hospitals in the south-eastern region of The Netherlands (VieCuri Medical Center in Venlo, and Orbis Medical Centre in Sittard) are invited to participate in the EnCoRe study. The participants are followed up from the moment of diagnosis untill 2 years after the end of initial treatment. During this period, several measurements are performed at participants’ homes by trained dieticians. These measurements include for example questionnaires about lifestyle and quality of life and assessment of weight and height of participants. By measuring these factors at different time points in the same individuals, it is possible to study changes in lifestyle and quality of life and determine the importance of these changes for the well-being of colorectal cancer survivors.

What is the importance of the findings of the EnCoRe study?

The findings of the EnCoRe study will provide more insight into how lifestyle of colorectal cancer survivors influences their quality of life. Additionally, the study findings can contribute to the identification of so-called risk profiles that help to timely identify persons who have an increased risk of a future decrease of their quality of life based on specific individual characteristics, such as unhealthy lifestyle behaviours.

Based on the results of the EnCoRe study, we aim to improve lifestyle advices for colorectal cancer survivors, for example about a healthy diet and exercise, and the provision of these advices to the right person at the right time. Thereby, we ultimately hope to contribute to a better health and well-being of colorectal cancer survivors in the future.