A Review of Health Behaviors in Childhood and Adolescent Cancer Survivors: Toward Prevention of Second Primary Cancer

J Adolesc Young Adult Oncol. 2016 Jun;5(2):78-90. doi: 10.1089/jayao.2015.0035. Epub 2015 Dec 1.


Purpose: Survival of children and adolescents and young adults (AYAs) treated for cancer has increased with improved treatments. However, there is still an increased risk of second primary cancer (SPC) in the long term compared with the same-age population, especially related to treatments. The follow-up of this population and the prevention of SPC are important issues. Therefore, this study aimed to review the available literature on cancer risk factors (lifestyle and occupational exposures) in children and AYAs previously treated for cancer in order to identify interventions that might be implemented to improve healthy behaviors in this population.

Methods: PubMed was searched using the following terms: "cancer[Tiab] AND young adult[Tiab] or teen[Tiab] or childhood[Tiab] AND prevention[Tiab] AND survivors[Meshterm]."

Results: Twenty-seven articles were included. Children and AYA survivors of cancer have similar risk behaviors to their peers regarding tobacco, diet, and sun exposure. However, they have lower physical activity. Few studies on prevention strategies in this population were identified. Results of available studies remain inconclusive. No publications were found on occupational exposure and risk of second cancer.

Conclusion: Children and AYAs treated for cancer are a population at risk and require specific effective prevention strategies.

Keywords: childhood; prevention; risk factors; second malignancy; survivors.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cancer Survivors*
  • Female
  • Health Behavior / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neoplasms, Second Primary / prevention & control*
  • Risk Factors
  • Young Adult