Gynecological cancer survivors' health behaviors and their associations with quality of life

Cancer Causes Control. 2008 Sep;19(7):775-82. doi: 10.1007/s10552-008-9140-y. Epub 2008 Mar 6.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Australia
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diet
  • Female
  • Fruit
  • Genital Neoplasms, Female*
  • Health Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Activity
  • Obesity
  • Quality of Life*
  • Smoking
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Survivors / psychology
  • Survivors / statistics & numerical data*
  • Vegetables