What is it about?

Due to better medical care the number of people surviving cancer is increasing steadily. However, many survivors do not feel very after treatment and have some physical problems. In addition, most survivors do not live a healthy live following their treatment. This is unfortunate as eating healthily and being active can have great benefits for health and well-being. We looked into the Why and Why not cancer survivors lead a healthy life following treatment. For this we interviewed 32 cancer survivors. Although some participants said they are living healthy lives many do not. Those who are active and/or eat healthily said that they want to prevent the cancer from coming back. Others wanted to get a fresh start after cancer and take care of themselves. Many who do not engage in healthy behaviors said that they have also no intention to do so in the future although they acknowledged the benefits. Common reasons were not knowing how to change behaviors, no support from health-care providers and negative treatment side effects. There were also people who didn’t see the benefits in living healthier, and some rejected the idea that their lifestyle has anything to do with cancer. As such, surviving cancer might not be a teachable moment for health behavior change as argued by others.

Featured Image

Why is it important?

This work is important as it shows how cancer survivors rationalise why or why not they engage in healthy behaviors. From our research, surviving cancer has the potential to be a teachable moment for behavior change, but this potential needs to be actualised. Knowing this can help health-care providers to better understand their patients while supporting them in making a change.


Interestingly cancer does not seem to be a teachable moment for everyone.

Dr Andre Matthias Müller
National University of Singapore

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Exploring cancer survivors’ views of health behavior change’: “Where do you start, where do you stop with everything?” , Psycho-Oncology, April 2018, Wiley,
DOI: 10.1002/pon.4732.
You can read the full text:




The following have contributed to this page