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Breast cancer survivors change lifestyle after diagnosis

Providence, RI -- Breast cancer survivors' beliefs about what may have caused their cancer are connected to whether they make healthy lifestyle changes after a cancer diagnosis. This is the finding of a research study appearing in the August 2006 issue of Psycho-Oncology by researchers at The Miriam Hospital and Brown Medical School.

"We found that breast cancer survivors who believed that an unhealthy behavior - such as consuming an unhealthy diet, contributed to their cancer - were more likely to say that they had changed that behavior since their diagnosis," says lead author Carolyn Rabin, PhD, a psychologist at The Miriam Hospital's Centers for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine. "Likewise, breast cancer survivors who believed that a healthy behavior- such as consuming a healthy diet, could ward off a cancer recurrence - were more likely to say that they had adopted that behavior since their diagnosis."

Due to advances in detection and treatment, there are now more than 10 million Americans who are cancer survivors, according to the American Cancer Society. However, researchers have not yet determined why some cancer survivors are motivated by a cancer diagnosis to make healthy lifestyle changes, while others are not. This question prompted the study by researchers at The Miriam Hospital and Brown Medical School.

The researchers cite evidence from past studies indicating that many cancer survivors are not leading healthy lifestyles { 50 percent of breast cancer survivors consume fewer than the recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables per day, 23 percent consume more than 30 percent of their calories from fat, and 28 to 43 percent lead sedentary lifestyles. In addition, more than 50 percent of cancer survivors who smoked prior to diagnosis continue to smoke.

"Adopting a healthy lifestyle is an important strategy for cancer survivors since, in addition to a cancer recurrence, they may be at increased risk for
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Contact: Megan Martin
mmartin@lifespan.org
401-793-7484
Lifespan
10-Aug-2006


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