Objectives: Testicular cancer has one of the highest 5-year survival rates of all cancer sites. The survival period is marked by an increased risk of secondary cancer and cardiovascular events owing to treatment-related toxicities. The purposes of this cross-sectional study were to determine the prevalence of health behaviors and depressive symptoms and to assess the relationship between depression and health behaviors in survivors of testicular cancer.
Methods: A total of 162 survivors of testicular cancer 2 to 10 years after their diagnosis completed a one-time telephone interview. The interview included a battery of questions from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System assessing health behaviors (smoking, physical activity, cholesterol screening, colorectal cancer screening, alcohol consumption, and fruit and vegetable intake) and the Centers for Epidemiological Studies-Depression (CES-D) questionnaire assessing depressive symptoms.
Results: The interviews revealed a low prevalence of positive health behaviors among survivors of testicular cancer. The percentage (17.5%) of survivors of testicular cancer who scored above the cutoff on the CES-D was greater than that (11%) of large-scale population-based estimates in men aged 19 to 44 years. Smoking was significantly related to depression. Depressive symptoms (CES-D score) differed significantly depending on smoking status (current smokers, mean = 15.2; former smokers, mean = 6.2, P <0.001; and never smokers, mean = 8.7, P <0.001).
Conclusions: Given the increased risk of cancer and treatment-related morbidities of these survivors, the findings of this study suggest that healthcare professionals should encourage survivors of testicular cancer to engage in positive health behaviors and check for depressive symptoms.