Health and lifestyle behaviors in colorectal cancer survivors with and without Lynch syndrome


Lynch syndrome (LS), a hereditary cancer syndrome, accounts for approximately 3% of colorectal cancers (CRC). Positive health behaviors and surveillance are preventive strategies, but research on whether recommended behavioral guidelines are followed by individuals with LS is limited. Additional health education and promotion could be beneficial to the improved survivorship of CRC survivors. Explore health and lifestyle behaviors in CRC survivors with and without LS. We conducted a case-control study of CRC survivors with and without LS using a mailed questionnaire. Recruitment was conducted via patient registries at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center (cases n = 33; controls n = 75) and through social media (cases n = 42). CRC survivors with and without LS in our study had substantially lower smoking prevalence (5.5% and 2.7%) compared to national prevalence (18.0%). However, they had higher levels of alcohol consumption (36.8% and 10.3% for male and female LS survivors, respectively, and 35.8% and 22.0% for male and female sporadic survivors, respectively) compared to national prevalence of 13.88% for males and 6.02% for females. Both groups of CRC survivors participate in negative health behaviors that impact survivorship. More research is needed to examine the relationship between personal engagement in preventive behaviors and patient–provider relationships to improve health behaviors and explore strategies for intervention. Additionally, better health education and lifestyle change recommendations would promote and reinforce positive health outcomes in the CRC population and especially in LS survivors.

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Correspondence to Kirsten M. Donato.

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The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

All ethical rules were followed in the data collection for this project, which was approved by the Institutional Review Board at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Informed consent was obtained by all study participants. No animals were included in this study.

The findings reported in this manuscript have not been previously published and the manuscript is not simultaneously submitted and under review at another journal. Some of the data in this manuscript have been presented at a conference by the corresponding author, but the abstracts were not published. The authors have full control of all the primary data used for reporting and agree to allow the journal to review the data if requested.

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Donato, K.M., Moore, K., Parker, W.M. et al. Health and lifestyle behaviors in colorectal cancer survivors with and without Lynch syndrome. J Community Genet 11, 59–63 (2020) doi:10.1007/s12687-019-00421-y

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  • Lynch syndrome
  • Health behaviors
  • Colorectal cancer survivors
  • Health education
  • Cancer prevention education