Survivorship care plans and adherence to lifestyle recommendations among breast cancer survivors
The effectiveness of survivorship care plans has not been widely tested. We evaluated whether a one-time brief lifestyle consultation as part of a broader survivorship care plan was effective at changing diet and lifestyle patterns.
A diverse sample of women with stage 0-III breast cancer were randomized to control or intervention groups within 6 weeks of completing adjuvant treatment. Both groups received the National Cancer Institute publication, “Facing Forward: Life after Cancer Treatment.” The intervention group also met with a nurse (1 h) and a nutritionist (1 h) to receive personalized lifestyle recommendations based upon national guidelines. Diet, lifestyle, and perceived health were assessed at baseline, 3 and 6 months. Linear regression analyses evaluated the effects of the intervention adjusted for covariates.
A total of 126 women completed the study (60 control/66 intervention, 61 Hispanic/65 non-Hispanic). At 3 months, the intervention group reported greater knowledge of a healthy diet (P = 0.047), importance of physical activity (P = 0.03), and appropriate use of dietary supplements (P = 0.006) and reported lower frequency of alcohol drinking (P = 0.03) than controls. At 6 months, only greater knowledge of a healthy diet (P = 0.01) persisted. The intervention was more effective among non-Hispanics than Hispanics on improving attitude towards healthy eating (P = 0.03) and frequency of physical activity (P = 0.006).
The intervention changed lifestyle behaviors and knowledge in the short-term, but the benefits did not persist.
Implications for Cancer Survivors
Culturally competent long-term behavioral interventions should be tested beyond the survivorship care plan to facilitate long-term behavior change among breast cancer survivors.