What do cancer survivors and their health care providers want from a healthy living program? Results from the first round of a co-design project

Abstract

Purpose

Healthy lifestyles are an important part of cancer survivorship, though survivors often do not adhere to recommended guidelines. As part of the co-design of a new online healthy living intervention, this study aimed to understand cancer survivors’, oncology healthcare professionals’ (HCP) and cancer non-government organisation (NGO) representatives’ preferences regarding intervention content and format.

Methods

Survivors, HCP and NGO representatives participated in focus groups and interviews exploring what healthy living means to survivors, their experience with past healthy living programs and their recommendations for future program content and delivery. Sessions were audio recorded, transcribed verbatim and analysed thematically.

Results

Six focus groups and eight interviews were conducted including a total of 38 participants (21 survivors, 12 HCP, 5 NGO representatives). Two overarching messages emerged: (1) healthy living goes beyond physical health to include mental health and adjustment to a new normal and (2) healthy living programs should incorporate mental health strategies and peer support and offer direction in a flexible format with long-term accessibility. There was a high degree of consensus between participant groups across themes.

Conclusions

These findings highlight the need for integration of physical and mental health interventions with flexibility in delivery. Future healthy living programs should investigate the potential for increased program adherence if mental health interventions and a hybrid of delivery options were included.

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Data availability

Data unavailable for release due to risk of re-identification.

Code availability

n/a.

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Funding

This project was internally funded by Cancer Council SA.

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Correspondence to Ashley R. Grant.

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Approval was received from Cancer Council Victoria’s Human Research Ethics Committee (IER1904).

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Grant, A.R., Koczwara, B., Morris, J.N. et al. What do cancer survivors and their health care providers want from a healthy living program? Results from the first round of a co-design project. Support Care Cancer (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00520-021-06019-w

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Keywords

  • Lifestyle intervention
  • Healthy living
  • Cancer survivors
  • Co-design
  • Digital interventions