Behavioral Risk Factors: A Guide for Oncology Nurses Counseling Patients

David G. Glenn

prevention, behavior change, risk factors, oncology, counseling
CJON 2020, 24(5), 9-18. DOI: 10.1188/20.CJON.S2.9-18

Background: Although many genetic and environmental causes of cancer are uncontrollable, individuals can choose behaviors that significantly increase or reduce their risk for cancer.

Objectives: This article discusses known cancer-protective behaviors, including exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, vaccinating against cancer-associated viruses, and minimizing exposure to tobacco products, alcohol, processed meats, and ultraviolet light.

Methods: The author performed a review of guidelines and techniques for counseling patients about risky behaviors, with an emphasis on patients with cancer.

Findings: Much remains to be learned about the most effective clinical interventions for encouraging patients to adopt healthy behaviors, but oncology nurses should become familiar with the fundamental principles of counseling patients about health-promoting behaviors.

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