Breaking Up Sedentary Behavior: Perceptions From Cancer Survivors

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Limited data exist on the benefits of, barriers to, and potential strategies to break up time spent sitting in cancer survivors. Such data will be meaningful given the consequences of prolonged sitting.


The aim of this study was to conduct a mixed-method research study consisting of semistructured telephone interviews to identify recurrent themes associated with prolonged sitting in cancer survivors.


African American breast cancer survivors (N = 31) were recruited from a local tumor registry. Telephone interviews were conducted and group consensus processes were used to identify recurrent themes. The a priori categories were benefits, barriers, and potential strategies to breaking up prolonged periods of sitting.


Recurrent themes contributing most to prolonged sitting were leisure time interest (45%: eg, watching television and reading) and health challenges (27%: eg, pain and fatigue). Most (66%) women perceived improved health as benefits to breaking up time spent sitting. Nonetheless, many (41%) survivors reported health (eg, pain and fatigue) as the biggest challenge to interrupt time spent sitting. Engaging in light intensity activities (eg, staying active, keep moving) was the most commonly reported strategy for breaking up prolonged sitting.


African American breast cancer survivors identified the benefits and barriers to breaking up time spent sitting as well as potential strategies to interrupt time-spent sitting.

Implications for Practice:

Clinicians are integral in promoting breaks from prolonged sitting throughout the initial phases of the cancer continuum. Successful studies will begin with early intervention in the clinical setting, with increasing intensity as survivors transition to the recovery phase.

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