Date of Award

Spring 5-11-2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


Public Health

First Advisor

Dr. Dora Il'yasova

Second Advisor

Dr. Ruiyan Luo


Introduction: Cancer is one of the most common diseases in US. Physical Activity (PA) is associated with lower risk of second malignancy among cancer survivors. Improved cancer treatment led to increase in cancer survivors’ cohort, a population at high risk of a second malignancy. Engaging in PA may reduce this risk, and behavioral interventions may use cancer diagnosis as a “teaching opportunity.”

Aim: We examined prevalence of the intent to increase PA among female cancer survivors to inform future policy regarding possible behavioral interventions.

Methods: Data were collected by the 2016 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), a cross-sectional study. Female cancer survivors, age ≥20, and diagnosed with the most prevalent malignancies among survivors (Melanoma, Breast, Colorectal, Thyroid and Uterine) were included.

Results: Among various characteristics, older age (>74 vs. <=74, OR=0.58, 95% CI:0.35-0.96) and reduction of dietary fat/calories (Yes vs No, OR=8.31, 95% CI: 5.44-12.69) were associated with PA increase. Examining interactions among various characteristics, we found that the association between increase in PA and recommendation from the doctor was the strongest among Colorectal Cancer survivors.

Discussion: Certain comorbidities, demographics, health behavior risk factors and characteristics were not associated with PA increase as found in other studies. This may be due to relatively limited sample size. However, age and reducing fat/calories in diets demonstrated correlation among those who were currently increasing PA.