Exploring cancer survivors’ views of health behavior change: "Where do you start, where do you stop with everything?"

Teresa Corbett, Tara Cheetham, Andre Müller, Joanna Slodkowska-Barabasz , Laura Joanne Wilde, Adele Krusche, Alison Richardson, Claire Foster, Eila Watson , Paul Little, Lucy Yardley, Katherine Bradbury

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48 Citations (Scopus)
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Objective Physical activity (PA) and a healthy diet can improve the well-being of cancer survivors. However, cancer survivors often do not engage in these behaviours. This study aimed to explore barriers and facilitators to engaging in these behaviours following cancer treatment. Methods During the development of a web-based intervention to enhance health-related quality of life in cancer survivors, 32 people who had completed treatment for breast, colon or prostate cancer were presented with an intervention for PA and healthy eating. In-depth think-aloud and semi-structured interviewing techniques were used to elicit perceptions of both behaviours. Data were analysed using thematic analysis. Results Some individuals reported implementing positive health behaviour changes to maintain health and prevent recurrence, or to help them to move forward after cancer. However, others reported feeling abandoned, and many did not report an intention to engage in lifestyle changes. Individuals discussed contextual and healthrelated barriers that were specifically linked to their situation as post-treatment cancer survivors: individuals described uncertainty about how to implement adaptive changes and perceived a lack of support from healthcare providers. Others viewed behaviour change as unnecessary or undesirable, with some arguing that nonmodifiable factors contributed more to their cancer diagnosis than lifestyle-related factors. Conclusions For many participants in this study, the period that follows treatment for cancer did not represent a ‘teachable moment’. A variety of complex and heterogeneous factors appeared to impact motivation, and may limit cancer survivors from engaging with diet and PA changes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1816-1824
Number of pages9
Issue number7
Early online date12 Apr 2018
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018

Bibliographical note

This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Corbett, T, Cheetham, T, Müller, A, Slodkowska-Barabasz , J, Wilde, LJ, Krusche, A, Richardson, A, Foster, C, Watson , E, Little, P, Yardley, L & Bradbury , K 2018, 'Exploring cancer survivors’ views of health behavior change: "Where do you start, where do you stop with everything?"', Psycho-Oncology, vol. 27, no. 7, pp. 1816-1824, which has been published in final form at https://dx.doi.org/10.1002/pon.4732This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.


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