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cancer survivor, health-promoting behaviors, health promotion



  1. Meraviglia, Martha Gene PhD, RN, ACNS-BC
  2. Stuifbergen, Alexa PhD, RN, FAAN


Purpose/Objectives: The purpose of this study was to explore the health-promoting (HP) behaviors of low-income cancer survivors before and after their diagnosis of cancer.


Design: This qualitative study used a purposive sampling strategy to identify low-income, ethnically diverse cancer survivors.


Setting: Participants were recruited from an urban outpatient cancer clinic serving only low-income clients.


Sample: Thirteen, ethnically diverse low-income cancer survivors participated in 60- to 90-minute interviews discussing their experience with HP behaviors before and after their diagnosis with cancer, their cancer experience, and their perspectives on being a cancer survivor.


Methods: Conventional content analysis of transcripts and field notes by 2 coders identified words, context, frequency, emphasis, and consistency of participants' comments. Statements were further examined to identify patterns and main themes and to interpret the meaning of what was said.


Findings: Participants described their use of various HP behaviors primarily walking, maintaining a positive mental attitude, and changing their diet. Participants discussed their perspectives on having a diagnosis of cancer as well as the meaning of being a cancer survivor. They described spiritual growth through prayer, renewing their faith, maintaining a hopeful outlook, and expressing thankfulness toward God. Participants expressed interested in learning about effective physical exercises, healthy eating, and stress management strategies.


Conclusions: Results suggest that low-income cancer survivors engage in various HP behaviors and want to learn more behaviors to use after cancer treatment.


Implications for Practice: Findings provide useful information for clinical nurse specialists when providing information about HP behaviors for use during and after cancer treatment as well as the meaning of cancer survivor for low-income cancer survivors.