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Smoking and binge drinking among Canadian survivors of childhood and adolescent cancers: A comparative, population-based study

Authors

  • Kendra Carswell MSc,

    Corresponding author
    1. Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention and Control, Public Health Agency of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    2. Department of Epidemiology and Community Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    • Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention and Control, Public Health Agency of Canada, 120 Colonnade Rd, AL: 6702A, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1A 0K9.
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  • Yue Chen PhD,

    1. Department of Epidemiology and Community Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
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  • Rama C. Nair PhD,

    1. Department of Epidemiology and Community Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
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  • Amanda K. Shaw MSc,

    1. Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention and Control, Public Health Agency of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
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  • Kathy N. Speechley PhD,

    1. Departments of Paediatrics and Epidemiology & Biostatistics, The University of Western Ontario and Children's Health Research Institute, London, Ontario, Canada
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  • Maru Barrera PhD,

    1. Department of Psychology, Haematology/Oncology Program, Research Institute, Hospital for Sick Children and Department of Public Health Sciences, Institute of Medical Sciences and OISE, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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  • Elizabeth Maunsell PhD

    1. Population Health Research Unit, Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Université Laval, Québec, Canada
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Abstract

Background

Objectives of this study were to describe the prevalence of smoking and binge drinking among survivors of childhood and adolescent cancer compared to controls who had never had cancer, and to identify factors associated with these behaviors.

Procedure

Data came from a national, multi-centre, population-based study of survivors of childhood and adolescent cancer (n = 1,263) aged 16 to 37 years and an age and gender matched control group (n = 1,422). Logistic regression analyses were performed to determine the likelihood and predictors of current smoking and binge drinking.

Results

Survivors were less likely to be current smokers (ORadj = 0.65, 95% CI = 0.54–0.77) and binge drinkers (ORadj = 0.66, 95% CI = 0.55–0.78) than the controls. Still, a substantial proportion of survivors reported smoking (23%) and binge drinking (25%). Survivors' smoking and binge drinking did not vary substantially by the clinical factors assessed. Survivors who received therapy associated with cardiac and/or pulmonary toxicity were as likely to smoke as non-exposed survivors. For both the survivors and controls current smoking and binge drinking were associated with lower education and higher reported stress. Binge drinking was also associated with being male and life dissatisfaction in both groups.

Conclusions

This study indicates a need to reduce smoking and binge drinking among survivors of childhood and adolescent cancer and to design interventions addressing the underlying reasons for adopting unhealthy behaviors despite their risk for late effects. We identified factors related to smoking and binge drinking among survivors: being male, lower educational attainment, life dissatisfaction and high stress, which should help inform intervention development. Pediatr Blood Cancer 2008;51:280–287. © 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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