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Despite the high prevalence of breast cancer survival in Thailand, the treatments of cancer leave long-term side effects on the survivors. Health behavior changes are found to contribute to favorable health outcomes, minimizethe chanceof recurrence, and elevate breast cancer survivors’ quality of life. This qualitative descriptive study is apart of a combined study to answer the question of how breast cancer survivors perform health behaviorchanges after treatment is completed. In-depth interviews were carried out with 15 breast cancer survivors following treatment completion. Data analysis was performed using content analysis.
From qualitative findings, three categories were identified from health behavior changes of the participants: (1) change diets to prevent cancer recurrence that encompassed having healthy diets to strengthen immunity, and avoiding diets that enhanced the growth of cancer cell; (2) doexercise that involved early arm exercise and regular leg exercise; and (3) attempt to reduce psychological distress. These health behavior changes were reflected through participants' efforts to improve physical appearance, engage in mind-body relaxation, maintain a positive attitude, practice religion, and seek support from supernatural powers.
The findings indicatedthe need to improve the quality of health behavior changes, and health professionals, including nurses, should design activities and interventions that are suitable for the particular needs of breast cancer survivors.
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