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Title: Risk, colon cancer & physical activity : a qualitative exploration in older adults
Author: Semper, Kelly
ISNI:       0000 0004 5356 2410
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2014
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Rationale and Objectives There is convincing evidence that physical activity (PA) reduces risk of colon cancer (CC) and may improve survival after cancer, although few older adults achieve recommended PA guidelines. Numerous barriers to participation exist, though few studies focus on socio-cultural influences. This study explores barriers specific to individuals at elevated risk of CC following screening colonoscopy, as well as how health professionals or a ‘diagnosis’ may provide additional motivation to change. Methods Interviews were conducted with colonic polyp patients and CC survivors over 60 years old, selectively sampled from a feasibility study for a randomised controlled PA intervention. Narrative accounts enabled discussion of influences on health behaviour throughout participants’ lifetimes, the impact of their recent ‘diagnosis’, and attitudes towards PA. Interviews and focus groups were conducted with health professionals to triangulate data collection. All interviews were transcribed verbatim and a constructivist grounded theory approach to data analysis was followed. Findings Despite not meeting current PA guidelines, participants perceived a lifetime of ‘natural’ PA. CC survivors were more inclined to initiate PA engagement to improve their health; conversely, elevated risk individuals were often not aware of their change in health status, leading them to conclude that no lifestyle change was necessary. Professionals confirmed that no PA guidance is currently offered to screening patients, but believed that there may be scope to implement health promotion advice. Barriers towards this however, are complex and numerous. Conclusions The ‘meaning of PA’ is situated and understandings may differ. Despite reporting perceptions of high PA, this study sample did not seem to understand what constitutes sufficient PA to elicit a positive health response. Risk status awareness and the benefits of PA is lacking in elevated risk individuals. For the screening setting to be utilised, questions around ‘why’, ‘when’ ‘who’ and ‘how’ health promotion should be delivered, need to be addressed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available