A Pilot Feasibility Study of an Online Lifestyle Group Intervention for Breast Cancer Survivors: The Healthy Lifestyle Modification After Breast Cancer (HLM-ABC) Program
Male, Dana Alexandra
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Overweight is a common concern for many breast cancer survivors (BCSs), which coincides with serious comorbidities and/or health risks, including diminished quality of life, poorer cancer prognosis and/or increased mortality. Most weight-loss interventions for this population seek to modify either physical activity and/or diet with a focus on weight loss as the primary objective. Such approaches, however, often overlook the importance of psychological well-being as an inextricable part of womens health and overall functioning. This study sought to develop and evaluate a novel group-based lifestyle intervention (Healthy Lifestyle Modification after Breast Cancer; HLM-ABC) to help BCSs make healthy lifestyle changes that extend beyond physical outcomes to include greater behavioural, emotional, and mental well-being. The feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary effectiveness of this intervention was assessed using a single-arm, mixed-method design. Fourteen women participated in the 10-week online intervention and completed various quantitative measures (weight, body mass index, waist circumference, self-efficacy, motivation, intuitive eating habits, physical activity level, quality of life, psychological distress, body image) at baseline, post-treatment, six-month, and 12-month follow-ups. Qualitative data was also obtained at post-treatment via semi-structured interviews and open-ended responses on a treatment satisfaction questionnaire. Given the exploratory nature of this pilot study, the findings were triangulated to generate a comprehensive understanding of participants experience of the HLM-ABC program and its preliminary impact. Results suggest that this intervention is feasible to implement and satisfactory to the recipients. Furthermore, the program demonstrates promise with respect to the potential to help BCSs manage their weight, develop greater intuitive eating practices, move their bodies more and in increasingly satisfying ways, inspire positive shifts in motivation and attitudes toward health behaviour change, and improve their body image. Implications for fostering optimal interpersonal conditions in online psychoeducational groups are discussed, along with the value of incorporating deliberate strategies into health behaviour change interventions that appeal to individuals universal and basic motivations to feel self-governed, efficacious, and connected with others. Finally, a rationale is offered for more widespread adoption of a broad definition of health that emphasizes not only a persons bodily measurements, but also their behaviour, psychosocial well-being, and (often unmodifiable or uncontrollable) context.