This study aimed to learn about women’s understanding of the links between physical health and fitness and cancer treatment. The study also aimed to gain knowledge about their experiences of receiving information on this topic from health professionals following their diagnosis. The researchers interviewed women with, or who had had, breast cancer about their experiences of receiving information about their condition and its treatment, their awareness of how cancer treatment might influence their physical fitness during and following treatment. Interviews also sought to gain their advice about the types of information and support they would like to have received about their cancer, its treatment and the possible wider implications of treatment. Using the results from the interviews, the research team developed a questionnaire to assess these issues from wider samples. The questionnaire was completed by a small sample of women (17) who had been diagnosed with breast cancer.
Breast cancer patients might benefit from expert advice about making healthy lifestyle changes such as increasing physical activity and healthy eating, which could help with managing treatment side-effects. They also recommended more follow-up support from health professionals after their treatment and access to some free non-medical therapies (e.g., swimming).
The research anticipates that the findings can be used to develop resources to support patients to make lifestyle changes, such as increasing their exercise and improving their nutrition
The next step is to develop a patient information and support resource, co-produced with patients, to be distributed to patients by breast care nurses.