The Lifestyle Information and Intervention Preferences of Teenage and Young Adult Cancer Survivors: A Qualitative Study

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Abstract

Background:

Little is currently known about how best to promote healthy lifestyle choices among teenage and young adult (TYA) cancer survivors. Such data gathered from a patient-centered perspective are instrumental for the development of health behavior change interventions for young people with cancer.

Objective:

This study aimed to explore the lifestyle information needs of TYA cancer survivors and their preferences regarding lifestyle information and intervention delivery. Lifestyle behaviors of interest were physical activity, diet, smoking, alcohol consumption, and sun safety.

Methods:

A total of 13 TYA cancer survivors (mean age, 22.9 years) participated in 10 individual interviews and 1 focus group (n = 3). Each interview and focus group followed the same semistructured interview guide, which was designed to explore young peoples’ motivation behind leading a healthy lifestyle, their past experience of searching for lifestyle information, and their preferences relating to lifestyle information delivery.

Results:

Three core themes emerged: cancer as a catalyst to lifestyle behavior change, factors influencing health behavior change, and health behavior information preferences. Social support emerged as facilitator of both health behavior change and self-efficacy.

Conclusion:

Young people with cancer want age-appropriate lifestyle information on a range of topics delivered in multiple formats at various time points.

Implications for Practice:

Health professionals working with TYA cancer survivors should address young peoples’ lifestyle information needs throughout the cancer care pathway and support young people to foster the confidence to make, and sustain, positive lifestyle behavior changes.

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