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Testis Cancer Survivors Likely to Have Poor Health Habits

Survivors who drink twice as likely to be problem drinkers as population-based controls

TUESDAY, April 6 (HealthDay News) -- Testis cancer survivors may be likely to engage in harmful health behaviors such as binge drinking and skimping on fruits and vegetables, according to a study published online April 5 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Eileen H. Shinn, Ph.D., of the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, and colleagues assessed the health behaviors of 162 survivors at two to 10 years after treatment and compared them with the behaviors of 74 male relatives who were within 10 years of their age and 1,123 to 9,775 age-, education-, sex- and income-matched, population-based controls from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's 1999 Behavioral Risk Factor and Surveillance Survey.

The researchers found that 18 percent of survivors were current smokers, 32.7 percent were problem drinkers, and that only 11 percent consumed at least five daily servings of fruits and vegetables. Compared to their male relatives, survivors were not more likely to be current smokers or problem drinkers but were significantly more likely to engage in physical activity at least three times per week (54 versus 39 percent). Compared to the CDC controls, survivors had similar rates of current smoking and regular physical activity, but were twice as likely to be problem drinkers and only half as likely to consume at least five daily servings of fruits and vegetables.

"These findings are important for those clinicians who participate in long-term testis cancer survivor follow-up, suggesting that both binge drinking and fruit and vegetable intake are important areas to address in reducing risks of cardiovascular disease and second primaries in testis cancer survivors," the authors conclude.

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