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Biol Blood Marrow Transplant. 2010 Feb;16(2):207-14. doi: 10.1016/j.bbmt.2009.09.015. Epub 2009 Sep 23.

The preventive health behaviors of long-term survivors of cancer and hematopoietic stem cell transplantation compared with matched controls.

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Department of Medicine, University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville, Florida 32610-0277, USA.


Little is known about the health promotion, prevention, and disease screening behaviors of cancer survivors treated with hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT), who undergo arduous treatment and may be at particular risk for late effects and secondary malignancies. The purposes of this study were to examine the current health and secondary prevention behaviors of long-term HCT survivors compared with matched controls without cancer, and to identify sociodemographic and clinical factors associated with appropriate preventive practices. HCT survivors (n = 662) were drawn from 40 North American transplantation centers. Peer-nominated acquaintances of survivors matched on sex, age, education, and marital status served as controls (n = 158). Data were collected a mean of 6.7 years post-HCT (range, 1.8-22.6 years). Despite a greater frequency of physical exams, the HCT survivors had similar health and screening behaviors as the matched controls. Sociodemographic factors were associated with health prevention behaviors in expected ways. Some differences between disease group and type of transplant were found, with survivors of acute leukemia less likely to report regular exercise, autologous transplant survivors more likely than allogeneic transplant survivors to report screenings for breast and cervical cancer, and allogeneic transplant survivors more likely than autologous transplant survivors to report undergoing a skin exam in the previous year. Despite higher levels of engagement with health care providers, HCT survivors had similar health behaviors as matched controls and comparable to those reported by cancer survivors who did not undergo HCT. There remains considerable room for improvement. These findings support the need for further education of both HCT survivors and health practitioners.

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