Health behaviors of cancer survivors: data from an Australian population-based survey

Eakin, Elizabeth G., Youlden, Danny R., Baade, Peter D., Lawler, Sheleigh P., Reeves, Marina M., Heyworth, Jane S. and Fritschi, Lin (2007) Health behaviors of cancer survivors: data from an Australian population-based survey. Cancer Causes and Control, 18 8: 881-894. doi:10.1007/s10552-007-9033-5

Author Eakin, Elizabeth G.
Youlden, Danny R.
Baade, Peter D.
Lawler, Sheleigh P.
Reeves, Marina M.
Heyworth, Jane S.
Fritschi, Lin
Title Health behaviors of cancer survivors: data from an Australian population-based survey
Journal name Cancer Causes and Control   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0957-5243
Publication date 2007-10
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1007/s10552-007-9033-5
Volume 18
Issue 8
Start page 881
End page 894
Total pages 14
Editor Graham A. Colditz
Place of publication Dordrecht, Netherlands
Publisher Springer Netherlands
Collection year 2008
Language eng
Subject 321299 Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified
730219 Behaviour and health
Formatted abstract
With increases in cancer survival, promotion of healthy lifestyle behaviors among survivors is receiving considerable attention. This study compared health behaviors among a large sample of Australian adult cancer survivors with an age- and sex-matched cohort of people with no cancer history.


Using the Australian National Health Survey, 968 cancer survivors were identified, and randomly matched by age and sex to 5,808 respondents without a history of cancer. Six health behaviors were compared (smoking, physical activity, servings of vegetables, servings of fruit, alcohol use, skin checks), along with overweight and obesity, using polytomous logistic regression analyses controlling for selected chronic conditions. Models were applied across both groups and by tumor site.

Compared to the non-cancer comparison group, cancer survivors were significantly more likely to be current (OR = 1.35) smokers, particularly those under 40 years (OR = 1.69), and more likely to have regular skin checks (OR = 1.76). Although not significant, there was consistent evidence that cancer survivors were slightly more likely to be overweight or obese (p = 0.065) and have higher levels of alcohol consumption (p = 0.088). There was no evidence of differences between survivors and controls for levels of physical inactivity, vegetable consumption or fruit consumption. Women with a history of gynecological cancers were much more likely to be current smokers (OR = 2.37), while other differences by sex and cancer site were consistent with overall patterns. Cancer survivors were also significantly more likely to report having a range of co-morbid chronic medical conditions.


Given their increased risk of second cancers and co-morbid chronic conditions, the lack of difference in behavioral risk factors confirms the need for a focus on improving the health behaviors of cancer survivors. Collaborative chronic disease management models may be particularly appropriate in this regard.
Keyword Oncology
Public, Environmental & Occupational Health
health behavior
2nd Primary Tumors
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Published online: 19 July 2007.

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Created: Mon, 18 Feb 2008, 14:32:12 EST