, Volume 42, Issue 3, pp 304-312
Date: 06 Jul 2011

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

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Abstract

Background

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

Purpose

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

Methods

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.

Results

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).

Conclusions

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.