Objectives: To evaluate health behaviors (smoking, physical activity, fruit and vegetable intake) and body mass index of gynecological cancer survivors and their association with quality of life.
Methods: We collected cross-sectional mail survey data from 802 gynecological cancer survivors (56% response rate) The questionnaire included validated measures of health behaviors, quality of life, clinical status, and demographics.
Results: Depending on gynecological cancer subtype, 61-68% were insufficiently active or sedentary, 19-44% were obese, 31-41% had less than two daily serves of fruit, 82-89% had less than five serves of vegetables and 6-21% smoked. Significantly more endometrial than other cancer survivors were obese (44%; 95% CI 41-47%); smoking was more prevalent among cervical cancer survivors (21%; 95% CI 19-23%). Using general linear modeling we identified a positive linear trend of physical activity level with quality of life (p = 0.039). Being insufficiently active or sedentary was also associated with not meeting the guidelines for fruit and vegetable consumption, with smoking and with overweight/obesity.
Conclusions: This research demonstrates the importance of integrating physical activity into follow-up of gynecological cancer survivors. Interventions to improve physical activity and test the causal effect of exercise on quality of life are a future research priority.