Unhealthy behaviour in cancer survivors

In the study published in the American Journal of Clinical Oncology, researchers compared data from nearly 20 000 women with no history of cancer, to more than 2 700 women who have survived cancer. The women were aged 35 and older and were undergoing mammography screening for breast cancer.

Surprisingly researchers found that cancer survivors had higher rates of smoking, were less likely to engage in strenuous exercise, and more often rated their health as ‘€œpoor’€. However, cancer survivors were less likely to drink alcohol at least once a month.

According to the study author, Sarah Rausch, from the Moffitt Cancer Centre in the United States, there were no significant differences in body-mass index between the two groups, but cancer survivors reported less weight gain over the previous five years.

Behavioural change

“The differences in health behaviours between cancer survivors and those with no cancer history afford a ‘teachable moment’ in which a cancer survivor may be motivated to change behaviours to promote a healthier lifestyle and prevent cancer recurrence,” Rausch said in a HealthDay News report.

It’s possible that women who have survived cancer could benefit from programmes that will help them to adopt healthier habits, the researchers said.

In South Africa, one in every eight women will develop cancer in her lifetime. The cancers most common among South African women are skin cancer, breast cancer, cervical cancer and endometrial cancer.

Source: HealthDay News, CANSA


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