Adoption of healthy lifestyles among Chinese cancer survivors during the first five years after completion of treatment

Siu Yin Ching, Esther Mok

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: The number of cancer survivors is increasing as a result of advances in detection and treatment. Lifestyle is a significant modifiable factor in the development of cancer. Most studies on healthy lifestyles have been conducted in Western countries. Cultural influences on the pursuit of healthy lifestyles among Chinese cancer survivors remain largely unexplored. The objectives of this qualitative study are to explore the experiences of Chinese cancer survivors in adopting healthy lifestyles, with a focus on their goals, the challenges they face, and the influences of Chinese culture. Design: Thirty-two Chinese breast and colorectal cancer survivors in their first five years after treatment were recruited from a hospital in Hong Kong to participate in eight focus groups. Qualitative content analysis was adopted to analyse the data. Results: The adoption of a healthy lifestyle was a strategy through which the participants exercised choice to restore balance in their health after developing cancer. Diet, exercise, psychological well-being, the use of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and health/dietary supplements, and attending medical consultations/follow-up visits were the behaviours adopted by the participants, with the goal of improving their health, controlling their cancer and preventing relapse, and managing the residual physical symptoms of their illness. In adopting a healthy lifestyle, the participants encountered challenges such as a lack of reliable and practical instructions from healthcare professionals. Chinese cultural beliefs concerning the nature of food, TCM, minimizing social disturbances, and collaborative control influenced their lifestyle. Conclusions: The cancer survivors adopted a range of healthy lifestyles but encountered challenges. Clarifying the principles of food choice while addressing Chinese beliefs regarding therapeutic food and the use of TCM, clarifying queries about conflicting information, and developing plans according to the needs, and competing demands of survivors can facilitate collaborative control between healthcare professionals and cancer survivors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalEthnicity and Health
VolumeJun 25
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Jun 2019


  • Cancer survivor
  • Chinese
  • focus groups
  • lifestyle change
  • rehabilitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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