Health behaviours in childhood cancer survivors: a systematic review

Eur J Cancer. 2007 Jun;43(9):1373-84. doi: 10.1016/j.ejca.2007.03.002. Epub 2007 Apr 24.


Aim: To review (1) prevalence and predictors of risk behaviours especially smoking and (2) values of interventions to reduce risk behaviours in childhood cancer survivors.

Method: A systematic search of four databases (OVID Medline (1966 to May week 2, 2006), CINAHL, EMBASE, and Pubmed (US Library of Medicine and National Institute of Health)) for articles published between January 1990 and May 2006.

Results: Twenty-three eligible articles. Incidence of risk behaviours are comparable with, or lower than the general population and controls. Socio-demographic (age, socio-economic status, diagnosis, ethnic group) and psychological variables (perceived vulnerability) predict risk behaviour. Improved knowledge and awareness of vulnerability have been found after interventions, but no changes in health behaviours.

Conclusion: This review illustrates an optimistic picture of low participation in substance use amongst survivors, although based mainly on smoking. However, smoking might not be the major problem for survivors and attention must also be directed to other health behaviours including exercise and healthy diet.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Drinking / psychology
  • Child
  • Health Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Risk-Taking
  • Self Care
  • Smoking / psychology
  • Survivors / psychology*
  • Unsafe Sex / psychology