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Psychooncology. 2012 Apr;21(4):427-35. doi: 10.1002/pon.1925. Epub 2011 Feb 10.

Breast cancer recurrence risk reduction beliefs in breast cancer survivors: prevalence and relation to behavior.

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  • 1Department of Behavioral Science, University of Kentucky College of Medicine, Lexington, KY 40536-0086, USA.



There is a growing body of evidence suggesting breast cancer (BC) recurrence risk might be linked to behavioral factors. However, little is known about BC survivors' beliefs regarding the link between their behavior and recurrence risk. The objective of this study was to describe BC survivors' beliefs regarding performance of behaviors potentially associated with BC recurrence risk reduction, and to examine the link between these behaviors and BC recurrence risk reduction beliefs, worry, and risk perception.


200 female BC survivors (age, years: mean=57.7, standard deviation=9.2) completed a questionnaire assessing beliefs about the effectiveness of 14 potential BC recurrence risk reduction behaviors, their performance of these potential risk reduction behaviors, recurrence worry, and perception of personal lifetime BC recurrence risk.


The behaviors most frequently endorsed as potentially reducing BC recurrence risk included avoiding tobacco use (84%), exercising at least three times per week (74%), eating an average of five servings a day of fruits and vegetables (72%), and limiting food intake to maintain current weight or lose weight (70%). Multivariate logistic regression analyses predicting behavioral performance showed that beliefs were consistently associated with behavior while worry and risk perception were largely unrelated to behavior.


BC survivors' beliefs about the effectiveness of potential BC recurrence risk reduction behaviors are largely consistent with empirical findings and relate strongly to actual behavioral performance. Misconceptions about the effects of behavior to reduce BC recurrence risk are important targets for clinical and public health efforts.

Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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