‘Probably better than any medication we can give you’: General practitioners’ views on exercise and nutrition in cancer

Optimal exercise and nutrition are increasingly recognised as important aspects of cancer survivorship to improve quality of life. However, little is known about general practitioners’ (GPs’) views and experiences regarding providing exercise and nutrition recommendations to their patients with cancer. This study conducted semi-structured interviews with 23 GPs and identified four main themes. (1) The importance of exercise and nutrition recommendations for patients with cancer, (2) the influence of the patient agenda, (3) the influence of additional training or personal interest of the GP, and (4) limitations of the primary care setting. This study provides evidence of GPs’ desire to be involved in supporting the healthy exercise and nutrition habits of their patients with cancer. To do so, increased communication between primary and tertiary care, availability of resources, professional development opportunities and access to allied health services is required.

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