Comparison of physical activity levels between cancer survivors and non-cancer participants in the 2009 BRFSS

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The purpose of this study is to compare physical activity (PA) levels between cancer survivors and those without cancer diagnosis (non-cancer participants).


Using data from the 2009 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, we conducted secondary data analysis to compare PA between 31,078 cancer survivors with history of single-site cancer diagnosis at least 2 years prior to the survey, including cancer survivors of prostate [n = 2,951], female breast [n = 5,695], colon [n = 1,436], cervix [n = 2,211], endometrium [n = 1,080], and ovary [n = 732], and 235,351 non-cancer participants between 40 and 79 years of age. Self-reported PA and cancer history data were collected through telephone interviews. Weekly moderate- to vigorous-intensity PA levels were calculated in moderate-to-intensity physical activity equivalent (MIE). Least-squares means of MIE were obtained from sex, age groups (40-64 years [middle-aged] and 65-79 years [older]), and cancer site-specific multivariable linear regression models, adjusting for age, age2, race/ethnicity, household income, and education.


Prostate cancer survivors reported participating in approximately 20 min/week more MIE, compared to their non-cancer counterparts (P < 0.10 for the middle-aged group; P < 0.01 for the older group). Middle-aged cervical and endometrial cancer survivors reported approximately 10 min/week less MIE (P < 0.05 and P < 0.15, respectively). Adjusted means of MIE were not different between cancer survivors of colon, female breast, or ovary and non-cancer participants.


This study demonstrates higher PA levels among prostate cancer survivors and lower PA levels among middle-aged cervical and endometrial cancer survivors, compared to sex- and age group-matched general populations.

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