Annals of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 42, Issue 3, pp 304–312

Physical and Mental Health Status and Health Behaviors of Survivors of Multiple Cancers: a National, Population-Based Study

Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s12160-011-9290-0

Cite this article as:
Burris, J.L. & Andrykowski, M.A. ann. behav. med. (2011) 42: 304. doi:10.1007/s12160-011-9290-0



Little is known about the unique experience of adults with a history of multiple cancer diagnoses (i.e., survivors of multiple cancers).


This research assessed the health status and health behaviors of survivors of multiple cancers.


The health status and health behaviors of 8,734 survivors of multiple cancers, 47,562 survivors of a single cancer, and 348,229 non-cancer controls were compared using weighted data from the 2009 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.


Survivors of multiple cancers reported poorer physical and mental health status outcomes (e.g., more mental distress and greater activity limitations) than survivors of a single cancer (all p’s < 0.001) who reported poorer outcomes than controls (all p’s < 0.001). Survivors of multiple cancers reported unhealthier behaviors than survivors of a single cancer and healthier behaviors than controls on most health behavior outcomes (e.g., alcohol use, tobacco use, and diet) (all p’s < 0.001).


Data suggest the need for clinical interventions to enhance physical and mental health status and to increase adoption of healthier behaviors in survivors of multiple cancers.


Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance SystemCenters for Disease Control and PreventionMultiple neoplasmsQuality of lifeHealth behaviorsSurvivorship

Copyright information

© The Society of Behavioral Medicine 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of KentuckyLexingtonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Behavioral ScienceUniversity of Kentucky College of MedicineLexingtonUSA