A qualitative evaluation of breast cancer survivors’ acceptance of and preferences for consumer wearable technology activity trackers
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Physical inactivity and sedentary behaviour are common amongst breast cancer survivors. These behaviours are associated with an increased risk of comorbidities such as heart disease, diabetes and other cancers. Commercially available, wearable activity trackers (WATs) have potential utility as behavioural interventions to increase physical activity and reduce sedentary behaviour within this population.
The purpose of the study is to explore the acceptability and usability of consumer WAT amongst postmenopausal breast cancer survivors.
Fourteen participants tested two to three randomly assigned trackers from six available models (Fitbit One, Jawbone Up 24, Garmin Vivofit 2, Garmin Vivosmart, Garmin Vivoactive and Polar A300). Participants wore each device for 2 weeks, followed by a 1-week washout period before wearing the next device. Four focus groups employing a semi-structured interview guide explored user perceptions and experiences. We used a thematic analysis approach to analyse focus group transcripts.
Five themes emerged from our data: (1) trackers’ increased self-awareness and motivation, (2) breast cancer survivors’ confidence and comfort with wearable technology, (3) preferred and disliked features of WAT, (4) concerns related to the disease and (5) peer support and doctor monitoring were possible strategies for WAT application.
WATs are perceived as useful and acceptable interventions by postmenopausal breast cancer survivors. Effective WAT interventions may benefit from taking advantage of the simple features of the trackers paired with other behavioural change techniques, such as specialist counselling, doctor monitoring and peer support, along with simple manual instructions.
KeywordsCancer survivors Breast cancer Physical activity Sedentary behaviour Wearable technology
Compliance with ethical standards
This study was funded by the National Breast Cancer Foundation (ECF-15-012 to BM Lynch).
NT Hadgraft was supported by an Australian Postgraduate Award and a Baker IDI Bright Sparks top up scholarship.
C Lynch was supported by a PhD scholarship from Northern Health.
MM Reeves was supported by a National Breast Cancer Foundation Fellowship (ECF-13-09).
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the Human Research Ethics Committee of Cancer Council Victoria (IER-1503) and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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