Examining knowledge of lifestyle risk factors among adult cancer survivors in Ireland
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Examining knowledge of lifestyle risk factors among adult cancer survivors in Ireland

Mary Grace Kelly Clinical research nurse, Letterkenny University Hospital, oncology department, Donegal, Ireland
Janice Richmond Advanced nurse practitioner, Letterkenny University Hospital, Donegal, Ireland

Aim Many cancers are preventable through lifestyle modification. The aim of this study was to investigate knowledge about the lifestyle risk factors for cancer, perception of personal risk and motivation for lifestyle change among adult cancer survivors living in Ireland.

Method A questionnaire was developed and administered to adult cancer survivors.

Findings Despite health education initiatives in Ireland, smoking, passive smoking and sun exposure/sunbed use were not universally accepted as risk factors by participants, and there was limited recognition that diet, alcohol consumption and physical exercise were also risk factors for cancer. Overall, participants did not perceive their personal risk of cancer was linked to their lifestyle.

Conclusion Myths about non-evidence-based lifestyle risk factors for cancer persist. In response to the knowledge deficits identified in the study, a web-based educational software application was developed to improve patients’ knowledge about cancer prevention and support health education initiatives.

Correspondence marygrace.kelly@hse.ie

Cancer Nursing Practice. 17, 2,35-41. doi: 10.7748/cnp.2018.e1456

Received: 26 June 2017

Accepted: 17 August 2017

Published in print: 08 March 2018

Conflict Of Interest

None declared

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind review and has been checked for plagiarism using automated software