Lived experience of dietary change among Chinese colorectal cancer survivors in Hong Kong: A qualitative study


Objectives: This is a qualitative study which aims to understand the lived experience of dietary changes among Chinese survivors of colorectal cancer who participated in a dietary intervention.

Setting: The surgical and oncological departments of four public hospitals in Hong Kong.

Participants: Fifty-five Chinese colorectal cancer survivors who were aged 18 years or above and had received potentially curative treatment in the surgical and oncological departments in Hong Kong were examined. Participants’ mean age was 64 years, with 29 (53%) males.

Intervention: A 12-month dietary intervention delivered via face-to-face motivational interviews, fortnightly motivational phone calls, monthly electronic pamphlets, quarterly newsletters and quarterly group meeting.

Outcome measure: We adopted the qualitative approach to capture participants’ perspectives and to apply the understanding pragmatically in everyday life. Content analysis was conducted.

Results: We identified themes of motives to changes of dietary practices including (1) individual commitment to dietary change; (2) adaptive strategies in interpersonal contexts and (3) working with healthcare professionals during the journey.

Conclusions: The findings demonstrated how Chinese custom and culture posing unique challenges to colorectal cancer survivors and the need of having dietary advice from healthcare professionals. Participants were motivated to change their eating habits by support from family, friends and healthcare professionals. Our findings could help healthcare professionals provide specific dietary advice and guidance to Chinese colorectal cancer survivors.