For the study, the researchers questioned over 2,700 female cancer survivors over age 35 who were receiving mammography screening. The researchers then compared their answers with the responses of nearly 20,000 women with no previous breast cancer presenting for mammography screening.
The researchers compared the two groups according to variables like alcohol use, weight status, physical activity, vitamin use, and smoking behaviors. They found that:
• Female cancer survivors were more likely to use more than three vitamins.
• Individuals who survived cancer were less likely to engage in “strenuous exercise” compared with those with no cancer history. In general, younger women were less likely to engage in “mild exercise” than older participants.
• Compared with women with no history of cancer, cancer survivors rated their overall health as “poor” at a much greater rate.
• Women whose age ranged between 30-49 and survived cancer had much higher rates of smoking than those with no cancer history.
• The team found no difference in BMI between the two groups. However they found that those who survived cancer had less weight gain over the last 5 years.
• Females with no history of cancer were more likely to use alcohol monthly or in greater amounts than cancer survivors. However, younger cancer survivors were the most common alcohol users.
Study author, Sarah Rausch, Ph.D., explained, "Studies, including ours, have found that cancer survivors are not as healthy as the general public. As our study demonstrated, unhealthy behaviors, such as smoking and alcohol use, and a lack of physical exercise among cancer survivors presenting for screening mammography, may account for their generally less than healthy status when compared to their peers, who also presented for screening mammography, but who had never had a cancer diagnosis."