I.CAN: health coaching provides tailored nutrition and physical activity guidance to people diagnosed with cancer in a rural region in West Gippsland, Australia

  • E. RistevskEmail author
  • T. Trinh
  • N. Vo
  • A. Byrne
  • P. Jamieson
  • A. Greenall
  • G. Barber
  • A. Roman
  • U. Schmidt



I.CAN is a program which uses health coaching to provide tailored nutrition and physical activity guidance to people diagnosed with cancer in a rural region in eastern Victoria, Australia. I.CAN builds patients’ nutritional knowledge, attitudes and health literacy to healthy eating and weight maintenance and incorporates sustainable and affordable dietary changes into everyday eating patterns. While oncology care identifies patients at risk of malnutrition and weight loss, less attention has been placed on building patient’s capacity for healthy lifestyles and behaviours after cancer treatment.


I.CAN is delivered by a dietitian and exercise physiologist and is offered in three streams, one-on-one consultation, one-one-one and group and group. Paired t tests and chi-square analysis were used to analyse data.


At 3-month review, I.CAN participants (1) significantly increased exercise activity from 51 to 86% (p < 0.001) and (2) showed increased trends in positive food choices from 62 to 66%. Importantly, positive food choices for alcohol and processed snacks were maintained, and there were increases in positive food choices for fresh fruit and vegetables, low fat dairy and processed meats.


I.CAN is an example of a program which can be delivered within a rural setting, with minimal resources, and achieve positive impact for patients.

Implications for Cancer Survivors

Key to the success of the program is promoting wellness early in the cancer trajectory and providing patients with practical tools, a person-centred and multidisciplinary team approach and a program which is adaptable to the changing needs of the patient and the health service.


Nutrition Exercise Health coaching Rural Cancer Survivorship 


Compliance with ethical standards

Ethical approval from the West Gippsland HealthCare Group Human Research Ethics Committee was obtained to collect patient outcome and experience data.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Monash University, Monash Rural HealthWarragulAustralia
  2. 2.West Gippsland HealthCare GroupWarragulAustralia

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