Eight ways to stay healthy after cancer: an evidence-based message

Cancer Causes Control. 2013 May;24(5):827-37. doi: 10.1007/s10552-013-0179-z. Epub 2013 Mar 12.


Purpose: Since 1999, in conjunction with the internationally known and award-winning Your Disease Risk ( yourdiseaserisk.org ) risk assessment tool, the "Eight Ways to Stay Healthy and Prevent Cancer" message campaign has provided an evidence-based, but user-friendly, approach to cancer prevention. The scientific evidence behind the campaign is robust and while not a complete list, provides a great deal of benefit in the reduction of cancer risk. With 12 million cancer survivors in the United States, there is a need for a parallel set of recommendations that oncologists and primary care providers may routinely use for individuals following a cancer diagnosis focused on improving the quantity and quality of life after diagnosis. With increasing survival rates and many cancer survivors dying from noncancer causes, survivorship care necessarily focuses on more than just risk of cancer recurrence and cancer-related mortality.

Methods: To provide a foundation for living a healthy life after a cancer diagnosis, we developed a set of evidence-based health messages for cancer survivors. "Cancer Survivors' Eight Ways to Stay Healthy After Cancer," published by the Siteman Cancer Center at Washington University School of Medicine and Barnes Jewish Hospital, documents both the evidence supporting the recommendations as well as tips for implementing them.

Results: The one-line summary messages are: (1) don't smoke, (2) avoid secondhand smoke, (3) exercise regularly, (4) avoid weight gain, (5) eat a healthy diet, (6) drink alcohol in moderation, if at all, (7) stay connected with friends, family, and other survivors, (8) get screening tests and go to your regular checkups.

Conclusions: The cancer survivors' eight ways are the foundation for an evidence-based health promotion program for survivors.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Attitude to Health
  • Continuity of Patient Care
  • Delivery of Health Care / methods
  • Evidence-Based Practice
  • Health Promotion
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / prevention & control
  • Neoplasms / mortality
  • Neoplasms / psychology
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Secondary Prevention
  • Survival Rate
  • Survivors
  • United States