Behavioural cancer risk factors in women diagnosed with primary breast cancer

J Adv Nurs. 2014 Dec;70(12):2810-20. doi: 10.1111/jan.12433. Epub 2014 Apr 28.


Aims: To investigate behavioural risk factors and self-efficacy among women diagnosed with breast cancer.

Background: The appearance of new tumours in breast cancer survivors is influenced by risk behaviours. Knowing their prevalence and women's perceived ability to adopt a healthy lifestyle would allow designing educational interventions aimed at modifying these behaviours.

Design: An observational cross-sectional study of women diagnosed with breast cancer.

Methods: The study was carried out in Asturias (Spain). A total of 2407 breast cancer patients diagnosed between 1998-2008 were selected and 492 women agreed to participate. Self-reported data on risk factors self-efficacy were gathered through a telephone interview based on the European Code against Cancer conducted between February-June 2010.

Results: A total of 16·1% of women in this study were regular smokers, 5% drank alcohol excessively, 49% were overweight, 54% reported a lower level of physical activity than recommended and 7·5% did not use sun protection. The Total Cancer Behavioural Risk indicator was calculated by adding up the results of all modifiable risks contained in the European Code against Cancer, with an average score of 21·6 in a scale from 0-78 points (0 = null cancer risk, 78 = maximum cancer risk). Self-efficacy levels were very high among our participants.

Conclusion: The results suggest that there is a need to design programmes to promote a healthy lifestyle among women diagnosed with breast cancer. Nurses have an important role to play in planning and implementing these programmes, using the most efficient educational techniques.

Keywords: alcohol; behavioural risks; breast cancer; diet; nurses; obesity; physical activity; primary prevention; smoking; survivors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Behavior Therapy / education*
  • Breast Neoplasms / nursing*
  • Breast Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Promotion
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / psychology*
  • Nurse's Role*
  • Patient Education as Topic*
  • Risk Factors
  • Self Efficacy*
  • Self Report
  • Spain
  • Survivors / psychology