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Abstract

The literature on health behaviors of young adult cancer survivors is very limited, and thus little is known about preventable risk factors in this population. This paper describes the prevalence of five behavioral risk factors among 541 young adult survivors of childhood cancers from the CCSS cohort who were identified as smokers and enrolled in a randomized controlled trial of a smoking cessation intervention. The relationship between presence of multiple risk factors and a number of smoking-related factors was examined. About 31% of the sample engaged in zero or one health-risk behavior in addition to smoking; 63% engaged in 2 or 3, and 6% engaged in 4 or 5. There were positive linear relationships between number of risk factors and smoking rate and nicotine dependence. Number of risk factors was not associated with self-efficacy for quitting, but was related to readiness to quit.

This study demonstrated that childhood cancer survivors who smoke have a number of other risk factors for the development of preventable disease and the presence of these risks was associated with factors that decrease the likelihood of quitting smoking. Attention to other health behaviors may be an important strategy for helping smokers quit. In particular, helping childhood cancer survivors who smoke to reduce other risk behaviors might also encourage them to quit smoking. Copyright © 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.