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Support Care Cancer. 2013 Dec;21(12):3471-81. doi: 10.1007/s00520-013-1939-8. Epub 2013 Aug 18.

Comparison of physical and mental health status between cancer survivors and the general population: a Korean population-based survey (KNHANES II-IV).

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Department of Family Medicine, Seoul National University Hospital, 28 Yunkeon-dong, Jongro-gu, Seoul, 110-744, South Korea.



To compare the physical and mental health status of the general population with that of cancer survivors in South Korea.


We analyzed 19,035 subjects (age ≥40 years), who participated in the 2001-2009 Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey II-IV. We compared metabolic syndrome components, health behaviors, and mental health outcomes between cancer survivors and non-cancer controls.


Cancer survivors accounted for 1.68 % (n = 316) of total population. Cancer survivors did not show low occurrence of hypertension and diabetes compared to the control group. Both cancer survivors and the general population had high risks of physical inactivity (75.4 % and 75.5 %, respectively) and inadequate sleep (52.5 % and 60.7 %, respectively). In the unadjusted model, depression was more common in cancer survivors (odds ratio [OR], 1.61; 95 % CI, 1.22-2.74), so was suicidal ideation (OR, 1.51; 95 % CI, 0.16-1.96) than non-cancer controls. After adjustment for attributable socioeconomic factors, the elevated adjusted odds ratios (aORs) among cancer survivors were reduced by 23 % in depression and 45 % in suicidal thought. Cancer survivors at <5 years from diagnosis showed a high occurrence of depression (aOR, 1.77; 95 % CI, 1.09-2.85) while the magnitude of aOR decreases after ≥5 years from cancer diagnosis (aOR, 1.38; 95 % confidence interval, 0.97-1.98, respectively).


The physical and mental health of South Korean cancer survivors was not optimal. Their control rates of modifiable risk factors were similar or even lower than those for the non-cancer groups. Depression was highly prevalent in cancer survivors which can be ascribed, at least in part, to socioeconomic environment. A better-targeted intervention to improve the health of this population may be needed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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