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Journal article
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Lifestyle interventions through participatory research: a mixed-methods systematic review of alcohol and other breast cancer behavioural risk factors

Breast cancer Community based participatory research Alcohol harms Prevention Intervention Public health

Breast cancer is one of the most frequently diagnosed cancers in women globally. Sex and advancing age represent the dominant risk factors, with strong evidence of alcohol as a modifiable risk factor. The carcinogenic nature of alcohol has been known for over twenty years; however, this has failed to translate into significant behavioural, practice, or policy change. As a result, women have not benefitted from this research and, by extension, have been exposed to unnecessary breast cancer risk. Participatory research presents a solution to research translation in public health through the collaboration of impacted populations with academics in research. This systematic review examines peer-reviewed research studies where participants were involved in the research process and the outcomes related to breast cancer prevention (either alcohol or broader lifestyle modification). Seven of the eight studies reported positive effects, and the collaboration between academic researchers and impacted populations may have supported positive outcomes. Women were receptive and responsive to participatory approaches, and their participation is important to address socially entrenched behaviours such as alcohol consumption. Participatory research presents opportunities for future interventions to improve (or address) modifiable risk factors for breast cancer.

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