Longitudinal changes in lifestyle behaviors and health status in colon cancer survivors

Jessie A. Satia, Marci K. Campbell, Joseph A. Galanko, Aimee James, Carol Carr, Robert S. Sandler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

109 Scopus citations


Lifestyle changes in persons diagnosed with cancer are important because they may impact prognosis, comorbidities, and survival. This report describes longitudinal changes in lifestyle behaviors and health status among colon cancer survivors (n = 278) and population-based controls (n = 459) in North Carolina (39% African American), and examines demographic and psychosocial correlates of healthy lifestyle changes following a colon cancer diagnosis. Data are from surveys of a population-based cohort of colon cancer patients on diagnosis (the North Carolina Colon Cancer Study, NCCCS) and approximately 2 years postdiagnosis [the North Carolina Strategies to Improve Diet, Exercise, and Screening Study (NC STRIDES)], and population-based controls. Both studies collected information on demographic/lifestyle characteristics and medical history. The NCCCS reflects pre-diagnosis or pre-interview patterns, whereas NC STRIDES queried on current practices. Between the NCCCS and NC STRIDES, colon cancer survivors reported significant increases in vegetable intake, physical activity, and supplement use (all P <0.01) and a non-statistically significant increase in fruit/juice consumption (0.1 serving), with larger fruit/vegetable changes in African Americans than Whites. Controls increased physical activity and supplement use and fewer reported arthritic symptoms (P < 0.05). Survivors who were older and female had an almost 3 times higher likelihood of having used at least one new dietary supplement post-diagnosis, whereas being retired correlated with increased vegetable intake, all P < 0.05. Having more barriers to increasing fruit/vegetable intake was inversely associated with taking a new supplement (P < 0.05 only in controls). Colon cancer survivors reported making significant improvements in multiple health-related behaviors. Health care providers should communicate with persons diagnosed with colon cancer to ensure that they are making healthy lifestyle changes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1022-1031
Number of pages10
JournalCancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2004


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