Purpose To describe the proportion of colorectal cancer (CRC) survivors who perceive a need for dietary support; to examine which socio-demographic, cancer-related, and health-related characteristics are associated with this need; to explore reasons for (not) needing support; and to explore CRC survivors’ specific needs and preferences with regard to lifestyle (i.e., dietary, exercise, and/or weight management) support. Methods This mixed-methods study comprised a cross-sectional survey among 1774 Dutch CRC survivors and three focus groups (n = 16). To examine associations, logistic regression analyses were conducted. Focus groups were audio-taped, transcribed verbatim, and analyzed using a thematic approach. Results Of 1458 respondents (82%), 1198 (67.5%) were included for analyses. 17.5% reported a need for dietary support. Characteristics associated with this need were: being younger, living without a partner, having a stoma, having diabetes, and being overweight or obese. The main reason for needing support was being unable to initiate and maintain lifestyle changes without support. CRC survivors preferred receiving information soon after diagnosis to make an autonomous, informed decision on improving their lifestyle. They preferred to receive individually-tailored lifestyle support in an autonomy-supportive environment, preferably with involvement of their family and fellow-sufferers. Conclusions This study has provided knowledge on appropriate support for CRC survivors in need for dietary support to improve health outcomes by promoting adherence to lifestyle and body weight recommendations. Findings can be used to better identify CRC survivors in need for dietary support, and to tailor lifestyle support to their needs and preferences in order to promote uptake, adherence, and effectiveness.
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