202809 Perceptions, beliefs, and health behaviors of breast cancer survivors: An application of the Protection Motivation Theory

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 11:30 AM

Mina Coman, MS , Department of Health Education and Rehabilitative Services, University of Toledo, Toledo, OH
Joyce E. Balls, PhD , AHEC Program Office, College of Medicine, College of Public Health and Health Professions, University of Florida, Jacksonville, FL
Timothy R. Jordan, PhD, MEd , Department of Health Education and Rehabilitative Services, University of Toledo, Toledo, OH
Amy J. Thompson, PhD, CHES , Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services, The University of Toledo, Toledo, OH
Brian Fink, PhD , Department of Public Health, University of Toledo, Toledo, OH
Introduction: The incidence of breast cancer in northern Ohio is higher than state and national rates. Breast cancer survivors can provide insights to help improve early detection and prevention of breast cancer recurrence.

Purpose: To understand breast cancer survivors' perceptions, beliefs, health behaviors, and cancer screening behaviors related to cancer recurrence.

Methods: A valid questionnaire based on the Protection Motivation Theory was mailed (3-wave mailing with $ 1 incentive) to a random sample of 700 survivors (18-county region in northern Ohio).

Results: 406 surveys were completed (58%). Cancer had negative impact on sexual life (24%), financial status (21%), and mental health (17%). Cancer had a positive impact on support received from others (80%), spiritual health (71%), and view of physicians (66%). 38% of survivors believed that their odds of recurrence were low; 30% believed that the health consequences of recurrence would be severe. Survivors believed that healthy diet (75%), regular exercise (71%), positive attitude (67%), and stress reduction (63%) prevent breast cancer recurrence. Yet only 36% of survivors had a healthy diet and 35% exercised regularly; 16% had engaged in at least one episode of heavy drinking in the last 30 days. Although 18% were not convinced of the efficacy of self-breast exams, the vast majority were “likely” to “very likely” to get the recommended clinical breast exams (88%) and mammograms (86%).

Conclusion: Gaining a better understanding of the beliefs of cancer survivors' can help public health experts to improve the quality and quantity of life for this target population.

Learning Objectives:
1.Describe the impact of breast cancer on the lives of breast cancer survivors. 2.Explain what breast cancer survivors believe about their odds of recurrence and perceived severity of recurrence. 3. Explain the association between breast cancer survivors’ perceptions and their health behaviors.

Keywords: Cancer, Cancer Screening

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I supervised this study of breast cancer survivors and led the data analysis team.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.