Screening practices in cancer survivors

J Cancer Surviv. 2007 Mar;1(1):17-26. doi: 10.1007/s11764-007-0007-0.


Introduction: Ten percent of all new cancers are diagnosed in cancer survivors and second cancers are the sixth leading cause of cancer deaths. Little is known, however, about survivors' screening practices for other cancers. The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of a cancer diagnosis on survivors' screening beliefs and practices compared to those without a cancer history.

Materials and methods: This study examined cancer survivors' (n = 619) screening beliefs and practices compared to those without cancer (n = 2,141) using the National Cancer Institute's 2003 Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS).

Results: The typical participant was Caucasian, employed, married, and female with at least a high school education, having a regular health care provider and health insurance. Being a cancer survivor was significantly associated with screening for colorectal cancer but not for breast or prostate cancer screening. Screening adherence exceeded American Cancer Society recommendations, national prevalence data, and Healthy People 2010 goals for individual tests for both groups. Physician recommendations were associated with a higher level of screening but recommendations varied (highest for breast cancer and lowest for colorectal cancer screening).

Conclusions: Cancer survivors had different health beliefs and risk perceptions for screening compared to the NoCancer group. While there were no differences between survivors' screening for breast and prostate cancer, survivors were more likely to screen for colorectal cancer than the comparison group. Screening adherence met or exceeded recommendations for individual tests for both cancer survivors and the comparison group.

Implications for cancer survivors: Cancer survivors should continue to work with their health care providers to receive age and gender appropriate screening for many types of cancers. Screening for other cancers should also be included in cancer survivorship care plans.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / methods*
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / complications
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Neoplasms, Second Primary / diagnosis*
  • Neoplasms, Second Primary / etiology
  • Neoplasms, Second Primary / prevention & control
  • Regression Analysis
  • Risk Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Survivors / statistics & numerical data*
  • United States