Illness perceptions and changes in lifestyle following a gynecological cancer diagnosis: A longitudinal analysis

Marlou E. C. L. van Broekhoven, Belle H. de Rooij, Johanna M. A. Pijnenborg, M. Caroline Vos, Dorry Boll, Roy F. P. M. Kruitwagen, Lonneke V. van de Poll-Franse, Nicole P. M. Ezendam*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

30 Downloads (Pure)


Objective. This study explores patterns of lifestyle change and whether more threatening illness perceptions are associated with lifestyle changes post-treatment for smoking, alcohol consumption and Body Mass Index (BMI) among gynecological cancer patients.

Methods. In total, 395 cancer patients (N = 221 endometrial; N = 174 ovarian) were included in this secondary analysis of longitudinal data. Lifestyle outcomes were assessed through self-reported questionnaires after initial treatment and 6, 12, and 18 months of follow-up. Illness perceptions were assessed with the Brief Illness Perception Questionnaire (BIPQ). Latent class growth curve analyses were conducted to identify patterns of lifestyle change and linear mixed models using between-subject and within-subject effects to explore the association between BIPQ items and alcohol consumption (glasses/week) and BMI (kg/m(2)).

Results. After initial treatment, 15% (N = 57) of the patients smoked, 53% (N = 203) drank alcohol, and 60% (N = 236) were overweight or obese. Overall, smokers made no considerable changes, but one subgroup of low level smokers reported positive decline. A slight decrease was observed for alcohol consumption among low and moderate level alcohol drinker subgroups, whereas BMI remained stable among endometrial cancer patients and increased for ovarian cancer patients. Moreover, patients with lower trust in their treatment to cure the disease drank more alcohol (beta = 0.32 glasses/week [95% CI 0.09; 0.56]).

Conclusions. Change in lifestyle after a gynecological cancer treatment is not self-evident. Moreover, more threatening illness perceptions were not related to a healthier lifestyle. This study underlines the need for lifestyle-promoting activities to facilitate lifestyle improvement among gynecological cancer patients. (C) 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)310-318
Number of pages9
JournalGynecologic Oncology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 2017


  • Gynecological cancer patients
  • Longitudinal study
  • Latent class growth curve analysis
  • Lifestyle
  • Illness perceptions
  • Survivorship

Cite this