Journal of Cancer Survivorship

, Volume 13, Issue 5, pp 739–748 | Cite as

Prevalence of cardiovascular disease and risk factors, quality of life, and health behaviors of cancer survivors and their spouses: findings from MEPS

  • Lixin SongEmail author
  • Ting Guan
  • Peiran Guo
  • Thomas C. Keyserling
  • Courtney Van Houtven
  • Xianming Tan



Few population-based studies have examined the prevalence of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and risk factors, quality of life (QOL), and health behaviors of cancer survivors and their spouses. This case-control study aimed to fill this gap using the data from a set of large-scale surveys of individuals and families across the USA.


Data were obtained from the 2010–2015 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS). Using one-to-many (1:5) propensity score matching, we identified cancer survivors (N = 1037) and noncancer-matched controls (N = 5185), as well as survivor spouses (N = 1038) and matched controls (N = 5190). We used weighted multivariable logistic and linear regressions to examine the categorical and numerical outcomes.


Compared with noncancer controls, survivors have higher rates of stroke (p < .05), hypertension (p < .05), high cholesterol (p < .01), fair or poor health (p < .0001), and report self-reported worse physical QOL scores (PCS) (p < .0001). A higher percentage of survivors report receiving BP checks (p < .01), serum cholesterol assessments (p < .001), routine physical checkups (p < .01), blood stool tests (p < .05), colonoscopies (p < .0001), and flu vaccinations (p < .05). Survivor spouses, compared to their respective matched controls, reported higher rates of serum cholesterol testing (p < .001), routine physical checkups (p < .01), and flu vaccinations (p < .01).


Compared to the general population, cancer survivors are at higher risk for CVD, report worse physical QOL, and, along with their spouses, more frequently receive certain preventive health care services.

Implications for Cancer Survivors

There is a need for intervention to more fully engage cancer survivors and spouses in lifestyle behavior change associated with decreased CVD and related risk factors and improved QOL.


Cancer Cardiovascular disease Quality of life Family Health behavior propensity score matching 



The project is sponsored by the University Cancer Research Fund, Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (PI: Song).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This study involved secondary database analysis of a publicly available database, and hence, formal consent is not required.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of NursingUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA
  2. 2.Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer CenterUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA
  3. 3.School of Social WorkUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA
  4. 4.Gillings School of Global Public HealthUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA
  5. 5.School of MedicineUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA
  6. 6.Durham Center for Health Services Research in Primary CareVA Medical CenterDurhamUSA

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