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Health behaviours in cancer survivors

Grimmett, C.M.; (2011) Health behaviours in cancer survivors. Doctoral thesis, UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

As cancer outcomes improve there is growing interest in the role of health behaviours in enhancing health and wellbeing in cancer survivors. However, there have been few studies of health behaviours in cancer survivors in the UK. Study 1 used data from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing to conduct the first investigation of health behaviours in an English sample of cancer survivors compared with the general population of older adults. Rates of current smoking and alcohol consumption were comparable, however cancer survivors were more likely to be ex-smokers and less likely to be physically active than adults without cancer. Study 2 examined health behaviours in a large sample of colorectal cancer (CRC) survivors. The results broadly confirmed suboptimal health behaviours in this population. Study 3 also demonstrated that better health behaviours were associated with better quality of life. In this same sample, believing that lifestyle factors may have contributed to cancer occurrence was associated with improvement in health behaviours following diagnosis (study 4). Receiving advice on secondary prevention from a clinician was also associated with an increased chance of health behaviour change (study 5). In addition the perceived barriers of age and mobility were associated with participating in less physical activity (study 6). Evidence that healthful behaviours improve quality of life, coupled with their preventive effect on second primary cancers and other diseases for which cancer survivors are at an increased risk, suggest cancer survivors are an important population for health promotion. However, evidence for effective lifestyle interventions among CRC survivors is scarce. Study 7 therefore examined the feasibility and acceptability of a lifestyle change intervention in a small pilot sample of CRC survivors (n = 11). The intervention was feasible and acceptable and associated with positive health behaviour change. This research has contributed to the understanding of health behaviours among cancer survivors in the UK, and provides insight into how to encourage health behaviour change in this vulnerable population.

Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Title:Health behaviours in cancer survivors
Open access status:An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language:English
UCL classification:UCL > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care > Epidemiology and Public Health

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