Breast cancer survivors’ perspectives on a weight loss and physical activity lifestyle intervention
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PURPOSE: The purpose of this study is to qualitatively describe the experiences of breast cancer survivors who took part in a successful 24-week lifestyle intervention aimed at weight loss. The aim was to inform future study designs and lifestyle interventions. METHODS: Nine women who completed the lifestyle intervention took part in either a focus group or telephone interviews with trained facilitators who were not involved in the delivery of the intervention. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and thematic analysis was conducted. RESULTS: Women appreciated the group-based nature of the program, the presence of other breast cancer survivors, and the safe and supportive environment provided by program leaders. The intervention supported women in reframing their dietary habits, and the exercise component had unexpected benefits on their psychological wellbeing. The logistics of fitting the intervention into busy work and family schedules was a challenge experienced by most women. Recommendations for future programming included offering the intervention to all survivors immediately following adjuvant treatment, integrating participants' social networks into the program and including a maintenance phase for sustainability of healthy behaviors. CONCLUSION: This qualitative study provides insight into breast cancer survivors' experiences in a group-based lifestyle intervention and offers suggestions for the development of future lifestyle programming in cancer care.
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