Risky health behaviours don't always change after a cancer diagnosis
A new study at the University of Oklahoma has shown that a cancer diagnosis doesn't automatically lead to a change in unhealthy lifestyle choices. The study published in the Journal of Cancer Survivorship included 47,139 cancer survivors and 407,191 controls without cancer aged 18 and over.
Just under two thirds of cancer survivors and controls were overweight or obese and 83% of both groups did not meet the recommended 5 a day US fruit and vegetable guidelines. Heavy drinking defined as 2 or more drinks a day for men and more than 1 a day for women was no different in the women survivors than from those in the control group. Men however were much less likely to drink if they had survived cancer. Smoking rates were also lower in men who had survived cancer whilst 19.8% of women survivors smoked compared to 15.8% of women without cancer. The study also found that the cancer survivors were more likely to be physically inactive.
Researchers concluded that the message on healthy eating and the benefits of regular exercise needed to be communicated more effectively to patients.