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.
Keywords: Disparity, Race, Cancer survivor, Behavior, Quality of life