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Lifestyle behaviours in cancer survivors: measuring the teachable moment of cancer diagnosis.


Given advancements in early detection, treatment, and survivorship care, the number of cancer survivors has been steadily increasing over the past few decades. However, recurrence and co-morbidities are still a major concern for cancer survivors. Lifestyle factors such as healthy diet, physical activity and maintaining a healthy weight can reduce cancer related consequences and improve overall survival in the aftermath of a cancer diagnosis. It has also been suggested that the diagnosis of cancer may provide a “teachable moment” when survivors may be more receptive to health recommendations and more likely to make lifestyle changes. However, despite the existence of lifestyle recommendations, and the potential for a teachable moment, the lifestyle behaviours of cancer survivors remain similar to those without a cancer history. The aim of this series of studies is, therefore: i) to examine the practice of multiple health behaviours, ii) to assess if there is evidence of a teachable moment where cancer survivors improve compliance with lifestyle recommendations following a cancer diagnosis (compared to age-matched controls), and iii) to assess if any change in behaviours are maintained over time.