Cancer Control Research5R03CA117539-02
Meraviglia, Martha G.
PROMOTING HEALTHY BEHAVIORS IN LOW INCOME CANCER SURVIVORS
DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Cancer survivors encounter multiple barriers to acquiring or participating in health-promoting behaviors during their cancer experience. Socioeconomic factors (e.g., low income and lack of health insurance) are especially difficult to overcome and are associated with lower use of health care, poorer overall health, and shortened survival. Using health-promoting behaviors will allow low-income cancer survivors to draw on their existing strengths to enhance their quality of life and perceived health. In addition, participating in health-promoting behaviors can reduce cancer-related illness and disability. The proposed feasibility study will refine a theoretically-based intervention and test the effects of the intervention to promote the health and quality of life following the treatment phase. The innovative health promotion intervention will include development of one-on-one participant/provider support relationships, attendance at weekly health promotion classes for six weeks, and follow-up support for 2 months. Evaluation research methods will be used in Phase I as the health promotion intervention is refined and validated with the assistance of content experts and consultants on focus groups, oncology, nutrition and weight management, tobacco cessation, exercise physiology, and pastoral care. The effectiveness of the intervention will be examined in Phase II with a prospective, longitudinal, randomized pretest/posttest intervention-control group design. The primary outcome variables will be perceptions of health and quality of life. Mediating variables will be indices of self- efficacy and performance of healthy behaviors. Findings from the feasibility study will guide healthcare providers in giving cancer survivors the information, skills, and support they need to improve their health. Results of the study will guide the further refinement of the intervention by identifying the effective components of the intervention, which will enable us to emphasize health-promoting behaviors found to influence overall quality of life. Ultimately, the findings will lay the foundation for future tailored intervention research in larger groups of low-income cancer survivors. Many people in the U.S. have difficulty maintaining their health during and following cancer treatment, which can have long term effects on their overall health and quality of life. Because more than half of those treated for cancer live longer than five years, there is a great need to develop strategies that help survivors gain the knowledge, motivation, and opportunity they need to make informed decisions about their health.