Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 24, Issue 4, pp 1527–1536 | Cite as

Lifestyles of cancer survivors attending an inpatient educational program—a cross-sectional study

  • Gunhild M. GjersetEmail author
  • Jon H. Loge
  • Sævar B. Gudbergsson
  • Asta Bye
  • S. D. Fosså
  • Line M. Oldervoll
  • Cecilie E. Kiserud
  • Wendy Demark-Wahnefried
  • Lene Thorsen
Original Article



Cancer survivors have increased risk for adverse health effects, but the risk can be reduced by adopting a healthy lifestyle. Knowledge of lifestyle in terms of physical activity (PA), diet (intake of fruit and vegetables [F&V]) and smoking behaviors of cancer survivors enrolled in an inpatient educational program and identification of subgroups not meeting the lifestyle guidelines are needed to set up more targeted programs.


We invited 862 cancer survivors, ≥18 years, diagnosed within the last 10 years and about to attend a 1-week educational program, to participate in this cross-sectional study. Sixty-seven percent (n = 576) returned the questionnaire before the start of the program. PA, F&V intake (5-A-Day) and smoking behaviors were self-reported. Logistic regression analyses were used to identify the characteristics of those not meeting the guidelines.


Sixty-three percent were women, median age was 60 years (range 28–83), 52 % had high education and median time since diagnosis was 12 months (range 2–119). Fifty-five percent did not meet the PA guidelines, 81 % did not meet the 5-A-Day guidelines and 12 % were current smokers. In multivariate analyses, age ≥60 years and low education were associated with not meeting the PA guidelines, and male gender and low education were associated with not meeting the 5-A-Day guidelines. Living alone was associated with smoking.


The majority of cancer survivors attending an educational program do not meet the public guidelines for PA and diet. Special attention should be given to those who are male, over age 60 years and with low education.


Cancer survivors Lifestyle Educational program Rehabilitation Physical activity 



This project was funded by grant from South-Eastern Norway Regional Health Authority. The authors wish to acknowledge the work and collaboration of the staff of the Montebello-Center.

Compliance with ethical standards

The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare. Our research involves human participants. All participants have signed an informed consent.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest. We also state that we have control of all primary data, and we agree to allow the journal to review the data if requested.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gunhild M. Gjerset
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jon H. Loge
    • 2
  • Sævar B. Gudbergsson
    • 3
  • Asta Bye
    • 4
  • S. D. Fosså
    • 1
  • Line M. Oldervoll
    • 5
  • Cecilie E. Kiserud
    • 1
  • Wendy Demark-Wahnefried
    • 6
  • Lene Thorsen
    • 1
  1. 1.National Advisory Unit on Late Effects after Cancer Treatment, Department of OncologyOslo University HospitalOsloNorway
  2. 2.Regional Centre for Excellence in Palliative Care, Department of Oncology, Oslo University Hospital and Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of OsloOsloNorway
  3. 3.Montebello-Center, The Norwegian Resource Center for Coping with CancerMesnaliNorway
  4. 4.Regional Centre for Excellence in Palliative Care, Department of Oncology, Oslo University Hospital and Department of Health, Nutrition and Management, Faculty of Health Sciences, Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied SciencesOsloNorway
  5. 5.Centre for Health Promotion and Resources, Department of Social Work and Health Science, NTNU, Trondheim and Research and Development Group, LHL ClinicsLHL ClinicsOsloNorway
  6. 6.University of Alabama at Birmingham Comprehensive Cancer CenterBirminghamUSA

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