Journal of Cancer Survivorship

, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp 27-34

First online:

Lifestyle behaviors in Massachusetts adult cancer survivors

  • Amy LinskyAffiliated withSection of General Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine Email author 
  • , Joshua NyamboseAffiliated withMassachusetts Comprehensive Cancer Prevention and Control Program, Bureau of Community Health and Prevention, Massachusetts Department of Public Health
  • , Tracy A. BattagliaAffiliated withWomen’s Health Unit, Section of General Internal Medicine and Women’s Health Interdisciplinary Research Center, Evans Department of Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access



Adoption of healthy lifestyles in cancer survivors has potential to reduce subsequent adverse health. We sought to determine the prevalence of tobacco use, alcohol use, and physical inactivity among cancer survivors overall and site-specific survivors.


We performed a cross-sectional analysis of the Massachusetts Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2006–2008, and identified 1,670 survivors and 18,197 controls. Specific cancer sites included prostate, colorectal, female breast, and gynecologic (cervical, ovarian, uterine). Covariates included age, gender, race/ethnicity, education, income, marital status, health insurance, and physical and mental health. Gender stratified logistic regression models associated survivorship with each health behavior.


4.9% of men and 7.7% of women reported a cancer history. In adjusted regression models, male survivors were similar to gender matched controls, while female survivors had comparable tobacco and alcohol use but had more physical inactivity than controls (OR 1.5; 95% CI, 1.2–1.8). By site, breast cancer survivors were more likely to be physically inactive (OR 1.5; 95% CI, 1.1–2.0) and gynecologic cancer survivors were more likely to report current tobacco use (OR 1.8; 95% CI, 1.2–2.8).

Conclusions and Implications for Cancer Survivors

Specific subgroups of cancer survivors are more likely to engage in unhealthy behaviors. Accurate assessment of who may derive the most benefit will aid public health programs to effectively target limited resources.


Cancer Survivors Life style Behavior