PhD student, Curtin University
Research examines the use of Fitbits to improve activity in cancer survivors at cardiovascular risk
Cancer survivors have been identified as a population at particularly high cardiovascular risk. Despite receiving a cancer diagnosis and undergoing subsequent cancer treatment, many cancer survivors continue to lead unhealthy lifestyles post-treatment. This research area aims to identify the barriers and motivational factors that affect health behaviours in cancer survivors. Findings from our previous research studies have revealed that barriers such as poor weather, age and energy may prevent cancer survivors from being physically active. Furthermore, cancer survivors have expressed a preference for a self-paced, low-moderate intensity, walking intervention, to improve their physical activity levels. We are currently recruiting cancer survivors for a low-intensity 6-month physical activity trial, which employs Fitbits to assist with self-monitoring and provide motivation for participants. As this trial is the first of its kind to involve Fitbits in an adult cancer survivor sample, findings will have significant clinical implications for the utility of Fitbits in healthcare settings. Examination of the intervention feasibility will indicate whether such programs can be implemented for improving the cardiovascular health of cancer survivors as a part of follow-up cancer care.
Abstract: The purpose of the study was to explore colorectal cancer survivors' health perceptions following cessation of active treatment for cancer and to explore the factors influencing participation in health‐promoting behaviors that may help reduce cardiovascular disease risk.Face‐to‐face interviews were conducted with participants that had completed active treatment for cancer within the previous 2 years. Participants were colorectal cancer survivors (N = 24, men = 11, women = 13, M age = 69.38 years, SD = 4.19) recruited from a private hospital in Perth, Australia on the basis that they had existing morbidities that put them at increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Interview transcripts were analyzed using thematic analysis.Five main themes emerged: back to normal; the pleasures in life: ‘is it worth it?’; beliefs about health behavior; skepticism of eating guidelines; and lack of motivation. The majority of participants felt they were in good health and had made a full recovery. Participants questioned whether it was worth changing their lifestyle given their life stage and referred to the desire to enjoy life. Lay health beliefs, skepticism of eating guidelines, and a lack of motivation were barriers to change.Interventions should target lay beliefs and skepticism in relation to health behaviors in order to reinforce the importance and value of participating in health‐related behavior.Findings may inform the development of effective, patient‐centered interventions that target lay health beliefs and build motivation for health behavior change. Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Pub.: 03 Mar '16, Pinned: 27 Jul '17
Abstract: The purpose of the current study was to explore colorectal cancer survivors' information and support needs in relation to health concerns and health behaviour change. Face-to-face interviews were conducted with participants who had completed active treatment for cancer within the previous 2 years. Participants were colorectal cancer survivors (N = 24, men = 11, women = 13 M, age = 69.38 years, SD = 4.19) recruited from a hospital in Perth, Australia on the basis that they had existing morbidities that put them at increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Interview transcripts were analysed using thematic analysis.Five main themes emerged: bowel changes; Lack of knowledge concerning healthy eating and physical activity; conflicting information; desire for support; and, need for simple messages and strategies to stay healthy. Where dietary recommendations were provided, these were to resolve bowel problems rather than to promote healthy eating. The provision of lifestyle advice from the oncologists is limited and patients' lack knowledge of guidelines for diet and physical activity. Oncologists could provide patients with clear messages from the World Cancer Research Fund (); that is to increase physical activity and dietary fibre and reduce consumption of red meat, processed meat, alcohol and body fatness.
Pub.: 25 Mar '17, Pinned: 27 Jul '17
Abstract: Lifestyle factors including inadequate physical activity may contribute to increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease in colorectal cancer survivors. Identification of the barriers to physical activity is important for forming an evidence base of factors to target in future physical activity programs aimed at improving cardiovascular health in this population.Colorectal cancer survivors (N = 24) from St. John of God Subiaco Hospital participated in semi-structured interviews about their current physical activity behaviors and perceived barriers to physical activity.Inductive thematic analysis of interviews revealed 5 overarching themes relating to barriers to physical activity: psychological barriers, environmental barriers, knowledge of guidelines, lack of practitioner support, and energy/age barriers.Novel findings revealed participants' dependence on practitioner support, including a reliance on practitioners to recommend lifestyle change. Survivors also revealed that regular checkups to monitor cardiovascular risk replaced the need for healthy lifestyle changes. Implications: With survivors holding the advice of clinicians in high regard, an opportunity exists for clinicians to facilitate lifestyle change. Health care professionals such as nurses can implement motivational strategies and provide additional health information during follow-up visits, to ensure long-term adherence. Individuals who reported psychological, motivational, and environmental barriers may benefit from interventions to improve self-regulation, planning, and problem-solving skills.
Pub.: 18 Aug '16, Pinned: 27 Jul '17