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cancer survivorship, health behaviors, distress, survivorship clinic

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Purpose: Engaging in positive health behaviors post-treatment is important for cancer survivors' health. However, little is known about whether survivors are practicing health promoting behaviors. We aimed to explore whether survivors are meeting the recent health behavior guidelines set forth by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) and to examine associations between health behaviors and distress. Methods: Sixty-six survivors completed a cross-sectional questionnaire assessing health behaviors prior to an initial appointment at a survivorship care clinic. Information about sociodemographic, clinical, and psychosocial variables and six health behavior recommendations, including physical activity, sunscreen use, tobacco use, alcohol consumption, weight management, and annual primary care provider visits, was collected. Findings: Only 7.6% of survivors met all six NCCN health behavior guidelines. One in ten (10.6%) survivors had smoked a cigarette in the previous 30 days, and half did not use sunscreen regularly (50%), had an unhealthy body mass index (53%), and did not engage in >10 MET-h/week of physical activity (50%). Approximately 1 in 6 (15.1%) survivors reported drinking beyond the recommended limit, and a similar proportion had not seen a PCP in the previous year (27.3%). Clinically significant levels of distress (>5; range 0–10) on the NCCN distress scale were reported by 64.6% of survivors. Participants with clinical levels of distress were less likely to adhere to health behavior guidelines than those who were not distressed (p = .002). Conclusions: Overall, survivors engaged at a survivorship clinic did not meet the NCCN recommended health behavior guidelines. Implications for Psychosocial Providers or Policy: Survivors' health behaviors and distress should be assessed and intervened upon during survivorship care. Survivorship clinics may provide a unique forum in which to provide ongoing behavioral health counseling and psychosocial support for these patients.

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Journal of Psychosocial Oncology, v. 36, issue 1, p. 64-81

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Psychosocial Oncology on 05 January 2018, available online:

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