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Older Cancer Survivors Report Good Quality of Life

Quality of life reported to be better than norms for their age, despite poor health habits

TUESDAY, July 28 (HealthDay News) -- Older long-term cancer survivors rate their quality of life better than the norms for their age despite a tendency to poor health behaviors, according to a study published online July 27 in Cancer.

Catherine E. Mosher, Ph.D., of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, and colleagues conducted telephone interviews of 753 long-term survivors of breast, prostate, and colorectal cancer who were at least 65 years old. The subjects were assessed for diet, weight status, and quality of life.

Overall, the authors note, the cancer survivors reported low levels of exercise (median of 10 minutes per week of moderate-to-vigorous exercise), and only 7 percent had healthful eating habits as measured by the Healthy Eating Index. However, the cancer survivors judged their quality of life, both mental and physical, to be better than norms for their age. The cancer survivors who exercised more and had a better diet reported better quality of life in terms of vitality and functioning, while those with higher body mass index reported diminished physical quality of life.

"The current results indicated a high prevalence of suboptimal health behaviors among older, long-term survivors of breast, prostate, and colorectal cancer who were interested in lifestyle modification. In addition, the findings pointed to the potential negative impact of obesity and the positive impact of physical activity and a healthy diet on physical quality of life in this population," Mosher and colleagues conclude.

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