Cancer Causes & Control

, Volume 21, Issue 9, pp 1387–1395 | Cite as

National estimates of racial disparities in health status and behavioral risk factors among long-term cancer survivors and non-cancer controls

  • Mario Schootman
  • Anjali D. Deshpande
  • Sandi L. Pruitt
  • Rebecca Aft
  • Donna B. Jeffe
Original paper



We examined racial disparities (White, African American, and other race) in health status (self-rated health, lower-body functional limitations, psychological distress, and body mass index [BMI]) and behaviors (smoking, alcohol use, and physical activity) of long-term cancer survivors (≥5 years) when compared to non-cancer controls.


Using 2005–2007 National Health Interview Survey data, we computed adjusted prevalence estimates of health status and behaviors for all six groups, controlling for sociodemographic factors, medical-care access, or presence of other chronic conditions.


The sample included 2,762 (3.6%) survivors and 73,059 controls. Adjusted prevalence estimates for each race were higher for long-term survivors than controls in terms of having fair-poor self-rated health, ≥1 limitation, psychological distress, and higher BMI but were similar between survivors and controls in terms of physical activity, smoking, and alcohol use. Adjusted prevalence estimates for having fair-poor self-rated health were higher for African American survivors than white survivors, lower for psychological distress, physical activity and alcohol use, and similar for smoking and BMI.


With the exception of smoking and limitations, racial differences existed among survivors for all health-status and behavioral measures. Clinicians may play a key role in helping to reduce disparities.


Disparity Race Cancer survivor Behavior Quality of life 



We thank the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri, for the use of the Health Behavior and Outreach Core. This research was supported in part by grants from the National Cancer Institute (CA112159, CA91842, CA137750). The funders did not have any role in the design of the study; the analysis, and interpretation of the data; the decision to submit the manuscript for publication; or the writing of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mario Schootman
    • 1
    • 2
  • Anjali D. Deshpande
    • 1
    • 2
  • Sandi L. Pruitt
    • 1
  • Rebecca Aft
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Donna B. Jeffe
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Departments of Medicine and Pediatrics, Division of Health Behavior ResearchWashington University School of MedicineSaint LouisUSA
  2. 2.Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center At Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of MedicineSaint LouisUSA
  3. 3.John Cochran VA Medical CenterSaint LouisUSA

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