Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 25, Issue 12, pp 3823–3832 | Cite as

Lifestyle advice provision to teenage and young adult cancer patients: the perspective of health professionals in the UK

  • Gemma Pugh
  • Rachael Hough
  • Helen Gravestock
  • Kate Williams
  • Abigail Fisher
Original Article



Health professionals are an important source of information for teenage and young adult (TYA) cancer patients. However, little is known about health professionals’ provision of lifestyle advice to young people with cancer who are in their care.


An online survey was distributed to health professionals within the UK who identified themselves as working with TYA cancer patients. Health professional awareness of lifestyle guidance, provision of lifestyle advice to young people and views on lifestyle information format and delivery were explored.


Ninety-five health professionals (44% nurses; 28% allied health professionals; 17% physicians) completed the survey. The majority (72%) of respondents were aware of some lifestyle guidance for cancer patients. However, less than half of TYA health professionals (46%) were able to successfully recall the source of the guidelines and less than a third reported proving specific advice to the majority of their patients on weight management, smoking, alcohol consumption and sun safety. Many health professionals (38%) felt that they were not the right person to provide advice and cited lack of resources as a key barrier to advice provision. The majority (95%) reported being interested in a resource containing relevant lifestyle information that could be given to young people with cancer.


TYA health professionals’ awareness of lifestyle guidance and provision of advice regarding health behaviour is sub-optimal. Clear and comprehensive guidance written specifically for TYA health professionals could overcome the reported barriers and improve professionals’ confidence in addressing and providing advice on lifestyle to young people with cancer.


Teenage Young adult Cancer patient Health professional Lifestyle Advice 



This work was supported in part by an IMPACT Award co-funded by University College London and CLIC Sargent awarded to Gemma Pugh.

Compliance with ethical standards

This study was approved by the University College London Ethics Committee (reference 4456/001).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Supplementary material

520_2017_3814_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (460 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 460 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gemma Pugh
    • 1
  • Rachael Hough
    • 2
  • Helen Gravestock
    • 3
  • Kate Williams
    • 1
  • Abigail Fisher
    • 1
  1. 1.Health Behaviour Research CentreUniversity College LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.University College Hospital’s NHS Foundation TrustLondonUK
  3. 3.CLIC SargentLondonUK

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