Rural cancer survivors are less healthy than urban counterparts; 25 percent of rural cancer survivors smoke

A quarter of rural cancer survivors smoke.

Cancer survivors from rural areas live less healthier lives than survivors from urban areas. That’s the diagnosis of a study by the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C., which asked a random sample of rural and urban survivors their body weight, and if they smoked, drank alcohol, and exercised.

The study found that 25 percent of rural cancer survivors smoked, compared to 16 percent from urban areas. It didn’t have state-by-state figures, but Kentucky has high rates of both cancer and smoking.

Fifty-one percent of rural survivors didn’t participate in any physical activities at all, compared to 39 percent for urban survivors, and 66 percent of rural survivors were obese, while 63 percent of urban ones were. Fewer rural survivors drank alcohol, a difference of 46 percent to 59 percent, and 18 percent of them were more likely to be unemployed because of health reasons, compared to 11 percent for urban

“Rural cancer survivors may not be receiving messages from their health-care providers about how important quitting smoking and being physical
active are after cancer,” said Kathryn E. Weaver, assistant professor of social sciences and health policy at Wake Forest Baptist. “It is concerning that we found higher rates of health-compromising
behaviors among rural survivors, when we know cancer survivors who
smoke, are overweight, or are inactive are at higher risk for poor
outcomes, including cancer recurrence and second cancers.” (Read more)

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