Positive lifestyle changes following urological cancer diagnoses – an Australian interview based study

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Journal Article
International Journal of Human Rights in Healthcare, 2015, 8 (2), pp. 110 - 119
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© 2015, © Emerald Group Publishing Limited. Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine ethnic Australian urological cancer patients and the positive life changes that those patients report after cancer diagnosis. Design/methodology/approach – A sample of 50 Australian urological cancer patients of ethnic origin were chosen to participate in this study. One-on-one semi structured interviews were conducted with the patients. Findings – Cancer diagnosis often serves as an impetus for making positive lifestyle changes. Most (98 per cent) of this study’s participants reported that they made positive lifestyle changes following a diagnosis of cancer. Those positive lifestyle changes include: greater appreciation of health and life (100 per cent); improved diet (94 per cent); closer relationships with family and friends (90 per cent); more frequent visits to the doctor for check-ups (74 per cent); increased physical activity (48 per cent); starting a new hobby (36 per cent); greater knowledge about their health in general (32 per cent) and increased spirituality (22 per cent). Research limitations/implications – The limitation of this study is the small sample of patients with ethnic diversity specific to western Sydney. Larger multicentre studies across Australia are required to confirm the findings. Additionally, this study focused on positive life changes, because 98 per cent of the participants reported positive lifestyle changes after diagnosis. However, there are related negative health behaviour changes, which this study has not addressed in depth. Furthermore, a comparison between positive life changes of ethnic Australian patients’ against the experience of post cancer diagnosis of non-ethnic Australian patients could investigate this issue further and possibly provide further insight. Originality/value – The majority (98 per cent) of the participants report positive lifestyle changes following urological cancer diagnoses. The patient population of predominantly elderly (84 per cent), males (90 per cent) differs from the current literate which states that positive lifestyle changes (posttraumatic growth) are mainly found to be significantly correlated to being female, younger and non-white and greater event severity.
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