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Do Adults Change Their Lifestyle Behaviors After a Cancer Diagnosis?

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Objective: To examine changes in lifestyle behaviors after a cancer diagnosis and medical and demographic influences on such changes. Methods: Adult cancer survivors (n=352) completed a survey including demographic, medical, and lifestyle behavior change questions. Results: Results showed that since cancer diagnosis, 46% of smokers quit smoking, 47% improved their dietary habits, and 30.1% exercised less. Adult cancer survivors who changed their lifestyle behaviors varied, depending on various demographic and medical variables and physician recommendation. Conclusion: It appears from our data that cancer diagnosis in adults may have a positive influence on smoking and diet and a negative influence on exercise.

Keywords: adult cancer survivors; diet; exercise; smoking

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Behavioral Research Center, American Cancer Society, Atlanta, GA 2: University of Alberta, Professor, Faculty of Physical Education, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. 3: Oncology Associate, Cancer Treatment and Research, Cedar Rapids, IA. 4: Marshfield Clinic, Marshfield, WI. 5: Minnesota Oncology-Hematology Clinic, Minneapolis, MI. 6: Dekalb Surgical Associates, Decatur, GA.

Publication date: May 1, 2003

More about this publication?
  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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