Lifestyle behaviors among US cancer survivors

Dana S. Mowls, Lacy S. Brame, Sydney A. Martinez, Laura A. Beebe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Purpose: We describe and compare lifestyle behaviors, including smoking, physical activity, alcohol consumption, and nutrition, among cancer survivors to individuals with no cancer. Methods: Data from the 2013 Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System were used for this cross-sectional study. Weighted analysis was performed, and associations were examined by adjusted prevalence ratios (APRs) and 95 % confidence intervals (CIs). Results: Comparing survivors to individuals with no cancer history, differences were found for a smoking quit attempt (APR 1.08; CI 1.04, 1.12), physical inactivity (APR 1.11; CI 1.07, 1.15), and binge drinking (APR 0.89; CI 0.83, 0.95). An interaction with gender was observed when examining smoking and heavy drinking. Smoking was lower (APR 0.85; CI 0.79, 0.92) among male survivors than males with no cancer history, while higher (APR 1.25; CI 1.18, 1.32) among female survivors compared to females with no cancer history. Heavy drinking (APR 0.85; CI 0.73, 0.98) was lower among male survivors than males with no cancer history, while cancer survivorship was not associated with heavy drinking among females. No differences existed for fruit and vegetable consumption or body mass index. Conclusions: US cancer survivors are not more likely than the general population to engage in all healthy lifestyle behaviors. Interventions, including improved physician communication, to reduce physical inactivity among all cancer survivors and cigarette smoking among female survivors are needed. Implications for Cancer Survivors: Cancer survivors are at increased risk for comorbid conditions, and acceptance of healthy behaviors may reduce dysfunction and improve long-term health. Ultimately, opportunities exist for clinicians to promote lifestyle changes that may improve the length and quality of life of their patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)692-698
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Cancer Survivorship
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2016


  • Cancer
  • Gender
  • Lifestyle behaviors
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Survivors


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